Air fatalities increased in 2018 after a number of passenger plane crashes Veuer's Natasha Abellard has the story.


A bird might have struck the private plane that crashed May 11 in Golden Gate, according to a preliminary investigation report by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Bill Gaston Sr., 71, was en route to the Naples Airport and second in line to land his plane when it suddenly went off course and crashed five miles northeast of the airport, the report stated.

A Collier County sheriff’s deputy reported “hearing a loud sound then a 'thud.'" He looked up and saw something like "Christmas tinsel’ floating,” the report stated.

Gaston, Sr., of Marco Island, was piloting a 1964 Piper Twin Comanche from Key West.
His son previously told the Naples Daily News that Gaston Sr. had been a pilot since he was 16 years old.

The preliminary report stated that the aircraft broke apart as a result of tree and ground impacts.

Investigators reported finding feathers and a dead bird in different areas of the wreckage.

The feathers, bird and specimen samples have been sent to the Feather Identification Lab at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Investigators have retained the wreckage for additional examination, according to the report.

More: Man who died in plane crash in Collier County was Marco Island resident

And: National Transportation Safety Board at 'fact gathering' phase of fatal plane crash

Previously: Pilot dies after small plane crashed in Naples

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