Skip to comments.BREAKING: WELLSTONE AUTOPSEY SHOWS SENATOR DIED FROM PLANE'S IMPACT
Posted on 11/21/2002 10:14:09 AM PST by 11th Earl of Mar
By Associated Press
November 21, 2002, 10:19 AM EST
ST. PAUL, Minn. --
Sen. Paul Wellstone died from the impact when his plane crashed last month, not from the fire that engulfed it afterward, a medical examiner said.
Dr. Thomas Uncini, St. Louis County's chief medical examiner, listed the cause of death for Wellstone and the seven others on board the small plane as "traumatic injury due to, or as a consequence of, an aviation crash with fire," the Pioneer Press reported Thursday.
The determination took several weeks because the bodies were severely burned in the Oct. 25 crash, Uncini said. He filed the death certificates Monday.
Uncini concluded that all the victims died from the impact based on blood analyses that found no carbon monoxide in the pilots' blood, meaning they died before they could inhale any smoke. The tests were conducted by a Federal Aviation Administration laboratory in Oklahoma City.
Earlier examinations of the plane's two pilots found no medical conditions such as heart attack or stroke, Uncini said. He added that he checked all the victims for gunshot wounds and there were none.
The plane crashed into a wooded bog while making its final approach to Eveleth-Virginia Municipal Airport in northeastern Minnesota, where Wellstone, 58, was headed to attend the funeral of a legislator's father. Everyone aboard the plane, including Wellstone's wife, daughter and three campaign workers, was killed.
Investigators haven't determined why the plane turned away from the airport, but other pilots had reported icing that morning. The damage to Wellstone's plane was too extensive to quickly determine whether its de-icing equipment was working, the National Transportation Safety Board said.
A final NTSB report on the cause of the crash isn't expected for several months.
Wellstone was temporarily replaced in Congress by independent Dean Barkley, appointed by Gov. Jesse Ventura. Republican Norm Coleman won the Nov. 5 election, edging out Wellstone's last-minute replacement, Democrat Walter Mondale.
Copyright © 2002, The Associated Press
Demoncrats to the end, "I crashed, but I did not inhale!"
Do they think we're that stewpid...
The X-rays noted many very small, round fragments. See: Glassier Safety Slugs.
They secretly revived him so he could get back in the race, and he was going to surprise everyone at the end of his Convention Jamboree. But sadly, he had a heart attack watching the event spin out of control. He knew that even he had no chance to win after seeing that mess.
The pilot could have been executing a missed approach procedure. If his flaps were down and he was carrying a load of ice, bringing up the flaps could have caused a sudden loss of lift and a subsequent stall. Being so close to the ground, he wouldn't have had the altitude to recover. However, from what I can find, the MAP (missed approach point) is identified by crossing the VOR (VHF Omni-Range) that is actually on the field. So, that's not likely.
Another possibility is that an uneven buildup of ice changed the shape of one wing, enough to cause only it to lose lift. That would cause the wing to drop and the plane appear to turn, but ony because the plane was entering a spin (which is caused by one wing generating sufficient lift, while the other is stalled). Again, he would have been too close to the ground to recover.
It also could have been little more than pilot error. Ultimately, the majority of general aviation accidents are attributable to this factor -- especially weather-related accidents.
Would that mean that they were using Joycelyn Elders' idea of "safer guns and safer bullets"?
Avoid rapid deceleration and high-speed impacts into planet-sized objects. And Republicans who are conspiring to kill me.
That last one's a joke, by the way.