The National Transportation Safety Board is releasing its final report on the likely cause of a plane crash in November of 2006 that killed five Iowans — four passengers from the Des Moines area and the pilot who was from Atlantic. The agency says the pilot, John "Mitch" Trewet, "became spatially disoriented and as a result failed to maintain control of the airplane." Fatigue was identified as likely reason.
Trewet left Atlantic during the early morning hours on the day of the crash in a six-person, Cessna T-303, enroute to Ankeny, to pick up four employees of a Des Moines marketing firm. From there they flew to South Bend, Indiana. The plane departed for the return trip about ten hours later. Just after 8 P.M., and at an altitude of 5,600 feet, the plane made a left turn and entered into a rapid downward spiral before crashing into a large, open cornfield about eight-miles west-southwest of the airport.
During the post-accident investigation, an employee at the South Bend Airport told the NTSB Trewet — who had been on the job for nearly 15-hours at the time of the crash — "looked tired or just ready to go home." Investigators piecing together the aircraft found no indication of mechanical failure.
Upon further inquiry, the NTSB learned that the plane was about 383-pounds over gross maximum weight, but the report did not indicate that as a factor in the crash.