Pilot of fatal 2019 Girdwood crash had over 5 times the alcohol limit, final report states

Published: Oct. 3, 2020 at 4:28 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - It started with a quick flight around Girdwood Valley. It ended with a crash that killed four people.

The plane crashed into Goat Mountain near Girdwood on Aug. 4, 2019.

Alaska State Trooper said, at the time of the crash, that 55-year-old Karl Erickson, 60-year-old David Osborn and 31-year-old Charles Weimer, all of Girdwood, died along with 37-year-old Paul Wiley of Arizona.

“I think that everyone would agree that this an avoidable accident, no doubt about that,” said Clint Johnson, National Transportation Safety Board Alaska chief

Weimer piloted the plane. The NTSB says a witness saw it perform aggressive maneuvers before the crash. Johnson says there’s a reason for that—the final report on the crash says Weimer was under the influence.

“We had some indicators that maybe this was going to be the case,” Johnson said. “But until we got that toxicology report back anything could be the case.”

The NTSB found Weimer had a blood-alcohol level more than 5 1/2 times above the limit for pilots to fly. He could not maintain a safe distance from the mountain.

Johnson said Erickson also had alcohol in his system.

The message to pilots is similar to what drivers often hear, don’t drink and fly.

“Had a chance to talk with some of the family members in particular. That was their message to us which is a little non-standard, to be honest with you, but that was their message to us as well,” said Johnson.

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