Canadian officials are taking over the investigation into a deadly Memorial Day mid-air collision because the planes involved were owned by federal aviation and transportation employees, the National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday.
NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said one of the agency's employees owned the six-seat Beechcraft BE-25 in which two people were killed in the collision in Fauquier County.
The medical examiner's office has yet to identify the victims. The pilot of the other plane - a Piper PA-28 - is an employee of the Federal Aviation Administration, the NTSB said in a statement
The pilot of the PA-28, 70-year-old Thomas R. Proven, of Broad Run, was transported to Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, where he was still being treated on Tuesday afternoon.
The mid-air crash severely damaged Proven's plane. But he made it through the trees even with chunks of the other aircraft hanging from his plane.
He hit the ground right behind Dolly Bartley's house.
“God took care of us, God took care of our house, our dog,” Bartley says.
Proven’s wife says he is doing o.k. His neighbors say he is an excellent pilot but lucky to be alive.
“It's pretty amazing,” says neighbor Don Boggs. “I guess you have to think pretty fast. To know what to do you don't have much reaction time.“
Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown says a Piper PA-28 operated by the injured pilot appeared to be headed to the Warrenton-Fauquier airport.
Investigators from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating. Fauquier resident Debbie Underwood told The Free Lance-Star that she and her daughter were enjoying Memorial Day with family when she saw the planes crash into each other.
"They looked like they were going to do an aerial," said Underwood, who frequently sees small planes from the nearby Flying Circus doing stunts.
Bill Iames was in his garage when he heard a bang and "looked out the window and saw smoke coming up" from a wooded area across the road.
He and others ran to the crash scene but the plane was a crumpled mass of burning debris. "You couldn't even tell it was a plane," Iames said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.