Thursday, July 2, 2020

Veterinarian whose plane vanished in storm reported, ‘It’s squirrely up here’

Pilot Ken Simmons
By Eliot Kleinberg

The National Transportation Safety Board posted a new report on the case of Ken Simmons, who vanished with his wife between Palm Beach County and the Bahamas on Feb. 1, 2019.

Lake Worth-area veterinarian Ken Simmons told air-traffic controllers, “It’s just really squirrely up here. It’s weird,” moments before his plane vanished in a storm between Florida and the Bahamas, a new investigative report says.

Simmons, 62, his wife Alice, 59, and golden retrievers Bailey and Lily disappeared the afternoon of Feb. 1, 2019, while heading to Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas. They had planned to spend the weekend at their four-bedroom home in nearby Guana Cay.

The National Transportation Safety Board “factual report,” posted over the weekend, is not the final one and gives no probable cause for the crash.

But it does include references to “spatial disorientation,” a sometimes-fatal bane of pilots, in which they lose all visual contact with the ground or ocean and even the horizon, as well as their grip on their speed, location, and direction, and even if they’re facing up.

It also said motion sensing by a pilot’s inner ear can make him or her believe the plane’s altitude has changed when it hasn’t.  Read more >>