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Weather the focus of plane crash investigation

Federal investigators were focusing on the weather Tuesday in their probe of a small plane crash over the weekend that killed an Evanston couple and their dog.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Federal investigators were focusing on the weather Tuesday in their probe of a small plane crash over the weekend that killed an Evanston couple and their dog.

Terrill "T.C." Johnson, 65, his wife, Catherine, 57, and their dog were killed Sunday night when their Piper PA-30 crashed on final approach to the Evanston-Uinta County Burns Field, Coroner Greg Crandall said.

The plane was en route from Heber City, Utah, when it tried to land in bad weather with zero visibility. It crashed 150 yards east of the runway.

Arnold Scott, an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, said both engines of the 40-year-old plane were running when it crashed.

He has also found no structural problems with the aircraft, which hit a bluff before crashing virtually intact. No distress calls were reported.

"As far as we know all radio communications were quite routine," Scott said.

Terrill Johnson was making a visual landing due to the bad weather. Radar signals were lost at about 9:15 p.m., Scott said.

Retrieval crews planned to move the wreckage Wednesday to a hangar in Greeley, Colo., for further inspection. A preliminary report was expected by Friday, Scott said.

Toxicology reports from autopsies performed Monday were also expected shortly, he said.

Terrill Johnson formerly flew for Delta and Pan American airlines and was a part-time employee of Star West Aviation, a charter airline at the Evanston airport.

His wife was an educational and disability coordinator for the Lincoln-Uinta County Child Development Center.

Clarence Vranish, chairman of the Uinta County Airport Board, told the Casper Star-Tribune that Johnson was "a really safe pilot. I'd fly anyplace with him."

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On the Net:

National Transportation Safety Board: http://www.ntsb.gov