Pilot error caused crash, passenger says Rider blames mistake calculating fuel in wreck near Riviera Beach

October 20, 1996|By Erin Texeira | Erin Texeira,SUN STAFF

The pilot of a twin-engine airplane that crashed late Friday near Riviera Beach may have misjudged how much fuel the craft needed, the passenger said yesterday.

"He basically made a mistake with the fuel is what it boils down to," said Richard Wendtland, 34, of Silver Spring, speaking from his room at Maryland Shock Trauma Center after surgery on his broken right leg.

State police said pilot Paul A. Pedersen, 33, of Chesterfield, Va., walked from the wreckage and was released after treatment at North Arundel Hospital. He could not be reached for comment.

Officially the cause of the crash remained undetermined yesterday, according to Linda Nevin of the Federal Aviation Administration, which was investigating the accident with the National Transportation Safety Board.

The men were returning to Baltimore-Washington International Airport after picking up a shipment of undeveloped film in Greensboro, N.C., when the plane crashed about 11 p.m. amid heavy rain and wind near Marley Neck Boulevard, about 4 miles from their destination, according to Wendtland and the police.

Airport officials notified state police that they had lost contact with a Cessna that had reported engine problems. Troopers were guided to the location by 911 calls, said Trooper Padric Lacy of the Glen Burnie barracks.

Troopers found Pedersen -- scratched and bruised, but otherwise unhurt -- walking along Marley Neck Boulevard, Lacy said.

Wendtland said he is a licensed pilot and that, in preparation for charter jobs, he was observing Pedersen fly the 310Q Cessna. He met Pedersen early Friday, he said.

Pub Date: 10/20/96

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