Submitted by Susan Hardee Steger
January 26, 2015 2:38 p.m.
A 1973 Cessna 150 piloted by Walter McFadden of Fernandina Beach, crashed near the Fernandina Beach Airport on Sunday, January 25. A Fernandina Beach police officer was dispatched to Crane Island, at 1:36 p.m. According to a Fernandina Beach police report, the pilot had “obvious signs of facial trauma,” and possible back injuries.
The report indicated that “from the debris field and tire tracks, it appears the airplane was flying in a northeast direction. The airplane’s tires hit the side of a berm, went up and once on top of the berm, the plane flipped with the tail going over the nose of the airplane. The front landing gear was detached from the airplane . . .”
Nassau County Fire Rescue (NCFR) Battalion 1, responded to the accident site but a locked gate prevented access to the crash site until bolt cutters were brought in from NCFR Station 20.
Kevin Valerio from Woodbine, Georgia, spotted the plane in a retention pond area on the north side of Crane Island while skydiving. Valerio believes the plane was preparing to land at a 130 degree heading. He provided information to Sky Dive Amelia and was a witness interviewed by FBPD.
Airport Operations Manager, Robert Kozakoff, told police McFadden did not have a flight plan.
City Manager Joe Gerrity, who is also the airport manager, alerted commissioners of the incident on Sunday, January 25 at 2:21 p.m. Gerrity said the National Transportation and Safety Board will conduct an investigation.