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Plane Crashes Off Cape Cod; Bodies Found

August 27, 2003

YARMOUTH, Mass. (AP) _ The bodies of two pilots whose commuter plane crashed off Cape Cod have been recovered, authorities said.

The two-man crew, who were not carrying passengers, reported an emergency and tried to return to the airport shortly after takeoff Tuesday, authorities said.

``It’s our understanding that the bodies were recovered after 9 p.m. last evening, and have been transported to Boston″ to the state medical examiner’s office, Mary Finnigan, spokeswoman for Colgan Air, said early Wednesday morning.

Yarmouth Police Chief Peter Carnes would not say if the plane’s flight data recorder had been recovered.

``I can’t really speculate on what caused the crash,″ Finnigan said. ``We’re cooperating fully. We’re devastated by the loss of our friends and crewmembers.″

The pilots were identified by their Colgan Air as Capt. Scott Knabe, 39, of Cincinnati, and First Officer Steven Dean, 38, of Euless, Texas.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the crew declared an emergency shortly after takeoff and was returning to land when the crash occurred about 250 yards from shore in 14 to 23 feet of water. The plane was a Beechcraft 1900D, a 19-seater, the FAA said.

The pilots were on a routine flight to return the plane from Hyannis to the airport in Albany, N.Y., Colgan Air spokeswoman Mary Finnigan said. Colgan Air, based in Manassas, Va., is a carrier for US Airways Express that serves Cape Cod.

Eyewitness Peter Joselow said it was obvious that something was wrong with the aircraft.

``It looked like it was veering very quickly to the left to come back to the airport, but it kept getting lower and lower and lower,″ said the Ossining, N.Y., resident who summers in Yarmouth. ``It went behind the tree line and the next thing we saw was a huge plume of water twice as high as the trees.″

Joel Finley was in a plane scheduled to take off directly after the Beechcraft, and said he saw the plane’s tail flutter shortly after takeoff. He said he heard the pilot say in radio transmissions with the control tower that he had lost ``trim.″ The trim on the plane’s tail helps it stay level, he said.

``He banked left and we lost sight of him. We were listening to the whole thing on the radio. We heard the tower say he fell off the radar screen,″ Finley said.

The FAA said it lost radio contact at 3:38 p.m. EDT.


On the Net:

Colgan Air: http://www.colganair.com/

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