BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced Saturday it will not be traveling to the site of the plane crash that killed Steve Barnes and his niece Elizabeth to investigate due to COVID-19.
In a statement the NTSB said:
"The decision to not travel to the scene included assessment of COVID-19 risks. We continue to conduct the same safety risk assessments we have historically used to make decisions related to travel to the scene of an accident, and are now adding additional factors for hazards related to the risks associated with COVID-19. Ongoing NTSB investigations will likely be impacted by measures taken to fight the pandemic. Work requiring travel of NTSB staff is being curtailed or canceled until it can be completed safely, or, conducted by another means."
The NTSB says the need for an investigator to travel to the site to investigate is determined on a case-by-case basis considering factors and circumstances.
Information will be gathered from a variety of sources and a preliminary report will be issued in a few weeks, according to the NTSB. The full investigation could take 12 to 24 months.
Barnes was the pilot of a single-engine Socata TBM-700 that was flying from Manchester, New Hampshire to Buffalo when the plane crashed around 11:45 a.m Friday killing Barnes and his niece Elizabeth.
According to FlightAware data, the plane completed the reverse flight Friday morning, taking off from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport at 7:45 a.m. and landing at 9:15 a.m. in New Hampshire.
The flight data for the trip back to Buffalo shows the plane suddenly veering north over Genesee County and losing altitude before crashing.