Archive for Saturday, August 16, 2003

Cause of plane crash still not known

August 16, 2003


— A preliminary report Friday did not pinpoint the cause of a private plane crash that killed the commander of the Kansas National Guard's 190th Air Refueling Wing.

The National Transportation Safety Board said an unnamed witness on the ground described Col. Mike O'Toole's four-passenger, single engine Cessna 182G as "mushing along" upon takeoff, just before the accident.

The crash occurred Aug. 8, at a private airfield near O'Toole's home in northeast Shawnee County. Injured in the crash were O'Toole's wife, Pam, and a daughter, Shannon.

The report said wreckage from the crash spread over 75 feet and appeared to have clipped a tree. It also said the plane came to rest, upside-down, on its left wing and wing strut.

The report quoted the witness as saying that when the plane took off, "The engine sounded normal from my vantage point." After an examination of the engine, "No anomalies were detected," the NTSB added.

O'Toole became commander of the 900-member 190th, one of two air units in the Kansas National Guard. He first enlisted in the 190th in 1970 as an aircraft fuels system specialist. On Thursday, about 1,300 people attended his funeral at Grace Episcopal Cathedral in Topeka.

Also Friday, the directors of the Kansas National Guard Museum announced a memorial in O'Toole's honor. The museum is at Forbes Field, south of Topeka.

The museum noted that O'Toole had worked to set up a display of a KC-135 tanker's tail fin on the museum grounds. The 190th flies KC-135s, and the museum said it would apply donations it received in honor of O'Toole to the project.

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