-Caveat Lector-

----- Original Message -----
  From: Michael C. Ruppert
  To: From The Wilderness
  Sent: Friday, November 29, 2002 9:15 PM

The complete story with graphics and a map is available to FTW subscribers at

Wellstone Updates: FAA, FBI, Local

Officials Evasive on Key Details

New Data Confirms Weather Not a Factor in Crash

by Joe Taglieri and Michael C. Ruppert

[© Copyright 2002, From The Wilderness Publications,
www.fromthewilderness.com. All rights reserved. THIS IS A SUBSCRIBER-ONLY
Contact [EMAIL PROTECTED] This story may be redistributed, circulated or
copied for non-profit purposes only.]

Nov. 27, 2002, 20:00 PST (FTW) -- The National Transportation Safety Board
has said the investigation into the Oct. 25 air disaster that killed Sen.
Paul Wellstone, his wife, daughter, three campaign staffers and two pilots
could take six months. In the meantime as icy weather is trumpeted throughout
the news media as the leading suspected cause, the following is a list of
information about the crash that is known at this time. This report is an
update of known information developed through FTW's investigation in advance
of the NTSB's report on the crash.

Flight's Final Moments

Citing NTSB chief Carol Carmody who referred to "air traffic control
records," an Oct. 27 New York Times story recounted the plane's final flight:
"It took off at 9:37 a.m. from Minneapolis-St. Paul and at 9:48 was issued
instructions to climb to 13,000 feet. At 10:01, air traffic control issued a
clearance to land at Eveleth, and the pilot was given permission to descend
to 4,000 feet. The pilot was also told that there was icing from 9,000 to
11,000 feet. At 10:10, the pilot began his descent. At 10:18, he was cleared
for an east-west approach to the runway, and, according to radar, the plane
was lined up with the runway.

"'That was the last transmission conversation with the pilot,'" Ms. Carmody,
a former CIA employee, said.

"'Everything had been completely normal up until that time, and there was no
evidence on the controller's part or from the pilot's voice that there was
any difficulty, no reported problems, no expressed concern.'

"At 10:19, according to radar, the plane was descending through 3,500 feet
and began to drift southward, away from the runway. Two minutes later, radar
recorded the last sighting of the plane at 1,800 feet and a speed of 85 knots
just northeast of the accident site.

"'We don't know why the turn was occurring,' Ms. Carmody said.'That's what we
hope to find out.'"

A pilot who works at the airport discovered the crash site from the air at
approximately 11 a.m., when he saw a cloud of "bluish gray" smoke rising from
the ground. At that point he notified the control tower at the Duluth airport
60 miles away. The Duluth tower covers Eveleth, and it gave the Wellstone
aircraft clearance to begin a landing approach at 10:18. This was the pilots'
last radio communication.

Local fire and rescue personnel arrived at the scene shortly thereafter, said
Steve Shykes, the nearby town of Fayal's volunteer fire chief who was in
charge of fire and ambulance personnel at the scene.

Shykes said he arrived at 11:45 that morning to set up his command post on
the road about a half-mile from the crash site.

Crash Site

(click picture to enlarge)

The wreckage was found 2.1 miles southeast of the east end of Eveleth-
Virginia Municipal Airport's (EVM) Runway 27, which is 3 miles southeast of
Eveleth, Minn.  The site's swampy, wooded terrain is 30 yards north of Bodas
Road, according to a police and fire dispatcher who was at the site. Rescue
workers had to use all-terrain vehicles equipped with tracks to access the
downed aircraft. In some areas of the site, the mud was waist-deep.

According to investigators and photographs, the wings and tail section broke
off as the plane descended into the trees at a steep 25-degree angle and a
slow airspeed of 85 knots, compared to the normal 115-knot approach speed.
Damage to the propellers indicated to investigators that the engines were
running at the time of impact.

Press accounts reported that after impact, a massive fire consumed the rest
of the plane, which was facing south, away from the east-west runway. This
resulted in the near total disintegration of the fuselage and severe damage
to the victims' bodies.

FTW has obtained two Associated Press photos of the crash site. No evidence
of fire, charring, or smoke damage was visible on the wreckage shown in those


According to Frank Hilldrup and Paul Schlamm of the NTSB, the investigation
is in the analytical phase. No conclusions will be drawn and a report will
not be issued for several months.

Dr. Thomas Uncini, St. Louis County medical examiner, determined both pilots
died from impact, not smoke inhallation, health issues such as a heart attack
or stroke, or a gunshot wound. The doctor told reporters he looked for
gunshot wounds on all eight victims and found none.

He also said the bodies of the passengers were too badly damaged by fire to
accurately determine if they also died before impact.

Uncini could not be reached for comment, but according to the St. Paul
Pioneer Press on Nov. 21, he listed the cause of death for all eight victims
as "traumatic injury due to, or as a consequence of, an aviation crash with

The day of the crash, local fire and police investigators said personnel from
their departments were on the scene shortly after 11.

Then in the afternoon between noon and 2, FBI agents from the Duluth and
Bemiji offices arrived at the crash site, according to Paul McCabe, a special
agent and spokesman for the FBI office in Minneapolis. At approximately 3
o'clock, McCabe said, agents from Minneapolis arrived.

Throughout the afternoon, the FBI's Evidence Recovery Team searched the crash
site for indications that foul play might have been involved. Agents found no
evidence to warrant a criminal investigation "pretty early on," said McCabe,
and the NTSB took the lead on the investigation when Carmody and her team
arrived at about 8 that evening.

There are many unresolved questions as to the points of origin and
assignments of the first FBI agents at the scene. Special agents from the
Minneapolis office are known to have been at the scene approximately 2.5
hours after the crash, but the exact time of their arrival is a question that
neither the FBI or incident commanders at the scene seem able to answer

McCabe's explanation contradicts reporter Christopher Bollyn of the American
Free Press, who said he spoke to a female employee of the FBI Duluth office
who said agents from Minneapolis -- not Duluth -- were the first to arrive at
the crash site.

And Bollyn quoted St. Louis County Sheriff Rick Wahlberg as saying that he
first saw FBI agents at the crash site "early in the afternoon, about noon."

When FTW contacted Wahlberg, he said he arrived at the crash site "around
1:30" and saw that FBI agents from Minneapolis who he knows personally were
already on the scene. Minneapolis is about 175 miles from Eveleth, and
driving time between the two cities is about 2.5 hours, according to local
residents familiar with the route -- a large portion of which is two-lane

McCabe said agents from Duluth and Bemiji could have easily responded to the
scene around noon, but he wasn't sure of agents' exact arrival times.

When asked if logs were kept with such arrival times, McCabe said, "We don't
really keep log time, per se, like that...Like when I write reports on
whatever investigation I do, you don't put times in there. It's a day, it
shows the investigation was conducted on such-and-such a day."

Lt. Tim Harkenen of the St. Louis County Sheriffs department was the law
enforcement incident commander at the scene. Harkenen said on Nov. 25 he
would retrieve his files and look up the logged arrival times of various
personnel who were at the crash site, but since that initial contact, he has
not taken or returned FTW's calls.

FTW also requested from the FAA the maintenance and certification "337"
documents for the aircraft in question. The order for a Federal Express
overnight shipment was placed Nov. 13 with the administration's Aircraft
Registration Branch in Oklahoma City, but as of this story's publication, no
documents have been delivered. Calls to the FAA have failed to yield an
explanation as to why the documents have not arrived as promised. FAA form
337s are public records and by law must be made available to anyone who
requests them.


Gary Ulman, who co-owns Taconite Aviation based out of the Eveleth airport,
took his plane up after receiving word from the Duluth tower that the
Wellstone plane failed to land on EVM's Runway 27.

"Approach called up here to me on the telephone and asked if the airplane was
on the ground. And I told them no, it wasn't," said Ulman. When he went
outside to double check the tarmac, he phoned the Duluth tower back to
confirm that the Wellstone plane had not landed. The controller called rescue
personnel, said Ulman, and he took his plane up to search for the missing

Ulman and other local pilots who flew into Eveleth's airport that day said
icing was not at a dangerous level and have characterized the weather
conditions at the time of the crash as not dangerous flying weather.

"I don't think icing had an effect," said Ulman, who took his plane up twice
after the crash -- first to find the wreckage, then with Chief Shykes to help
direct the fire and rescue personnel to the site.

Local residents Rodney Allen, Megen Williams, and Kim Hill were reported to
have seen or heard the plane as it flew over their homes moments before it

The Aircraft

The Beech King Air A-100 was built in 1979 and seated eight passengers and
two pilots, though only one pilot was required for standard operation.
Wellstone traveled with two pilots as a safety precaution. The plane was a
dual Pratt/Whittney engine turbo-prop, registered as N41BE, serial no. B-245.

Executive Aviation owned and chartered the aircraft, which was not required
to have a cockpit voice recorder or flight data recorder, according to the
FAA and Mary Milla, a spokeswoman for the charter flight company in Eden
Prairie, Minn.

Federal aviation regulations require commuter aircraft with 10 or more seats
to have a flight data recorder. Aircraft with six or more seats and requiring
two pilots for standard operation must be equipped with a cockpit voice
recorder, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Paul Takemoto.

The King Air is very widely used for charter services. It has a fatal
accident rate 25 percent lower than all privately owned and chartered turbo
props, according to the Associated Press citing Robert Breiling, a Florida-
based aviation consultant who studies business aviation accident rates.

The aircraft was equipped with de-icing boots, which are designed to break
through ice that accumulates on the wings.

Investigators would not comment on whether the de-icing boots or any other
equipment was functioning properly.

Weather Conditions

Automated instruments at the Eveleth airport at 10:14 a.m. CDT indicated the
wind was calm, and visibility was three miles in light snow. There were
scattered clouds at 400 feet and overcast at 700 feet.

The temperature was 33 Fahrenheit, and the dew point was 32 Fahrenheit.

The altimeter, which measures a plane's height based on barometric pressure,
was at 30.06 inches of mercury.

Eveleth-Virginia Municipal Airport

The airport has no control tower and is equipped with a VOR/DME landing
guidance system. The minimum altitude for a landing approach is 371 feet from
less than 2 miles out. If a pilot does not have visual sight of the runway at
this altitude, he or she is required to call in a "missed approach" and go
around the airport for another landing attempt.

In the case of this crash, there is no reason to suspect the pilots could not
see the runway because the cloud ceiling was 700 feet. Ulman also doubted a
missed approach was happening because there was no contact from the pilots
indicating this.

The control tower at the airport in Duluth, which is about 60 miles south of
Eveleth, monitors radar covering EVM's airspace. There is also an FAA radar
station in Nashwauk, 40 miles west of Eveleth.


Richard Conry, an experienced pilot with more than 5,000 hours of flying
time, was the doomed flight's captain. Conry, 55, had reportedly flown into
the Eveleth airport many times prior to Oct. 25, and Wellstone often
requested Conry.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Conry served federal time because
of a 1990 conviction for mail fraud, and he apparently exaggerated his level
of experience flying large passenger aircraft for the airline American Eagle
before being hired to fly Executive Aviation charters.

It has also been reported that Conry worked as a dialysis nurse, and he
completed a shift at a Minneapolis hospital at 9 o'clock the night before his
scheduled flight with Wellstone on the morning of Oct. 25.

Michael Guess, 30, had 650 hours of flying time and was employed as a pilot
by Executive Aviation in April 2001.

Guess worked at the a flight school in Egan, Minn., where 9-11 conspiracy
suspect Zacarias Moussaoui stole flight simulator software. The Star Tribune
reported this software was found on Moussaoui's laptop after his arrest.

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