Wed, April 01

Jerome plane crash victims identified<br><i>Investigation into cause under way</i>

Courtesy YCSO

EMERGENCY workers found the remains of two Verde Valley men in an aircraft that crashed Saturday.

The pilot was identified as 63-year-old William Mosley, of Rimrock. The passenger was identified as 76-year-old Wayne Shimer, of Cottonwood. The families of both victims have been notified.

The small aircraft crashed about a half-mile northeast of the Jerome Historical Park at approximately 7 a.m. on Saturday. The crash site is at the foot of an old mine tailings pile. According to the sheriff's office, the land is owned by United Verde Exploration.

According to Sharon Wachter, public information officer, no Federal Aviation Administration report has yet been made available detailing the specifics of the crash.

"The FAA was scheduled to go out to the site, but they have not given us a report yet," Wachter commented this week.

George Bean, aviation safety inspector with the FAA office in the Phoenix area, said it could take up to six months for the FAA to complete its work.

"The investigation is ongoing," Bean said. "It's very preliminary. We haven't done a whole lot of work on it yet. We picked up the wreckage and are trying to determine what happened."

Bean added that the FAA and National Traffic Safety Board would likely work concurrently investigating the plane's burned-out remnants.

Both occupants of the two-seat kit plane were dead on arrival of the first rescue workers. Wachter said she could not estimate the approximate size and shape of the kit plane based on crash debris. Early reports indicated that the aircraft was a home-built kit plane.

The FAA considers kit planes "experimental" aircraft. By definition, they are homebuilt aircraft typically taking 300-400 hours to construct. Unlike certified production aircraft, amateur-built aircraft are not subject to approval by the FAA. Each individual hobbyist is responsible for proper construction and airworthiness.

A witness reported seeing the plane flying very low. Next it dropped from view, then he saw smoke. Jerome Mayor Jay Kinsella was the first person to arrive on the scene. He said he too saw a plume of smoke from his nearby home and went to investigate. When he arrived, portions of the plane were still on fire.

The Jerome Fire Department then arrived and extinguished the fire. YCSO Lt. James Jarrell said that the plane was burned, but wasn't totally consumed. Investigators were able to identify a portion of the tail section and other fragments. A sheriff's office deputy confirmed that a shoe, flight guide, watch and glasses were found among the wreckage.

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