Canadian agency will handle probe of fatal Va. plane collision

A midair collision between a pair of small planes over Northern Virginia that left two people dead will be investigated by Canadian authorities because both plane owners work for the federal agencies that normally have that responsibility, officials said Tuesday.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada was asked to review the collision between the Piper PA-28 and a Beechcraft BE-35 because one plane is owned by an employee of the Federal Aviation Administration and the other by a worker at the National Transportation Safety Board, the NTSB said Tuesday.

The Piper was badly damaged but managed to land. Its pilot, Thomas R. Proven, 70, of Broad Run was hospitalized at Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg. Proven is an FAA investigator, and his wife, Carol, is a consultant to the agency.

The second plane crashed into the woods in flames, killing both people aboard. Their names had not been released by late Tuesday. Virginia’s medical examiner is responsible for officially identifying the dead, and Virginia State Police said DNA samples would be used.

The collision happened just before 4:30 p.m. Monday about five miles south of the Warrenton-Fauquier Airport in Sumerduck. It was not immediately known at what altitude the planes were flying or how they came close enough to collide on a clear, mostly sunny afternoon.

As is often the case with small, private airplanes, neither aircraft was under the direction of air-traffic controllers.

“This accident hits especially close to home, with the involvement of an NTSB employee,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah A. P. Hersman. “I’m grateful to TSB-Canada Chair Wendy Tadros for agreeing to conduct the investigation and the NTSB stands ready to support and assist them in any way we can.”

Ashley Halsey reports on national and local transportation.
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