ELY — Air traffic controllers lost contact with a small plane in bad weather before it crashed in eastern Nevada this month, killing a Colorado couple.
The National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary accident report Wednesday the pilot, 72-year-old Phillip Bethell of Moffett County, Colorado, was headed from Craig, Colorado to Twin Falls, Idaho on Feb. 15 when he diverted toward Ely near the Utah line.
The NTSB says Bethell was instructed to remain above 10,500 feet (3.2 kilometers) due to an active military area but continued to descend to a lower elevation because of the weather.
An Ely resident who lives near the airport told the NTSB the weather was so bad he couldn’t see the house next door when he heard a low-flying plane.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Linda Bethell, 66, also died.