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NTSB investigating Power County plane crash

National Transportation Safety Board officials are in Power County investigating the single-engine plane crash that left a man and his dog dead Friday.

Conducting the field portion of the investigation, NTSB air safety investigator Fabian Salazar said they concentrate on three things; the man, the machine and the environment.

“We will collect our data points here, find the maintenance records and we’ll look into the maintenance of the aircraft and things of that nature,” Salazar said. “We’ll look at the environment — the weather that the pilot was flying in and local weather reports. We’ll also look at the pilot — his certification and his training.”

The NTSB will remain just outside of American Falls with the plane until early Sunday morning. The plane will be transported to a secure location in Boise where it will be held for the duration of the investigation.

“What the public can expect is in about 14 days, the NTSB will publish a preliminary report. Depending on the circumstances of the investigation, the final report and probable cause could be anywhere from 12 months to 24 months,” Salazar explained.

In the meantime, Salazar asks that anyone who may have witnessed the crash get in contact with the NTSB (witness@ntsb.gov) or local law enforcement.

Power County authorities say the plane, a Mooney M20J, is registered to Robert Wheeler, 52, of California.

Though coroner Mark Gunn Rose has not identified Wheeler as the deceased, the Wheeler family was on-site Saturday.

Rose said he will not release the identity of the deceased until the autopsy is complete.

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