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John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
jthompson@johnsoncitypress.com
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FAA gets 911 tapes from Holston Mountain plane crash

March 21st, 2014 7:13 am by John Thompson

FAA gets 911 tapes from Holston Mountain plane crash

Wreckage of the plane on Holston Mountain (John Thompson/Johnson City Press)

ELIZABETHTON — Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes said the investigation on the crash of a Cessna 172 on Holston Mountain on Tuesday is ongoing.

The sheriff said his department’s latest contribution to the investigation was to make the 911 tapes relating to the crash available to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Mathes said his department is also working to keep unauthorized individuals away from the crash site until all the evidence has been collected.

There is still one major task to accomplish, Mathes said: getting the remains of the wrecked plane off the mountain. The difficulty of just getting into the location on foot or by ATV makes it seem impractical to try and remove the plane by hauling it across the steep terrain.

“We are looking at hoisting it out by air,” the sheriff said.

The plane crashed after refueling at Elizabethton Airport at 7:08 p.m. It hit a tree growing on a 3,000-foot-elevation ridge near the airport. All three passengers survived the crash.

The 911 tapes Mathes provided the investigators are important because the survivors were able to call 911 from a cell phone, providing details from shortly after the crash. The tapes continue through the rescue effort, which went on until 5 a.m. Wednesday.

The FAA has been on the scene since Wednesday morning, recovering evidence. The investigation is made easier because the three survivors can be interviewed about what happened. One of the passengers, a 15-year-old boy, has already said he was taking a nap in the back seat and was not aware the plane was in trouble until he heard his mother scream.

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