FRANKLIN, Maine — A preliminary report on an ultralight aircraft crash that killed a local building contractor and seriously injured his daughter indicates that the accident occurred when a wing on the ultralight made contact with the water while flying over Taunton Bay.
Kenneth Tracy, 52, was piloting the aircraft when the crash occurred on the evening of Aug. 5. The accident killed him and seriously injured his 8-year-old daughter Kenzey.
The preliminary report has been posted on the Web site of the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the crash. According to the document, witnesses told Maine State Police what they saw when the plane hit the water.
“At one point, the pilot swirled down close to the water,” the report indicates. “Moments later, the wing of the ultralight made contact with the water and nosed over, impacting the water hard.”
Witnesses immediately took a boat out to the plane, which had crashed about 200 yards off Dwelley Point and brought Tracy and his daughter back to shore.
Kenzey Tracy was taken by LifeFlight helicopter to a Bangor hospital and reportedly has since then largely recovered from her injuries. Attempts Wednesday to contact her family were unsuccessful.
Because ultralights are not considered aircraft by the Federal Aviation Administration, ultralight operators are not required to have pilot licenses. Tracy, who did not have such a license, had taken off from a private airstrip in nearby Eastbrook.
Jose Obregon, air safety investigator with NTSB, said Wednesday that a final report on the crash likely won’t be finished for several more months. He said investigators consider every possible factor they can think of when looking into the causes of air accidents, from the history of the pilot to weather conditions to the maintenance records of the aircraft.
“It’s still ongoing,” Obregon said of the investigation. “It takes awhile.”