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Updated 2:34pm - Jul 29, 2016

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Cause of plane crash still unknown

This photo of Gene Petrik  was taken several months ago in his Gasquet garden. (Stephen M. Corley/ The Daily Triplicate).
This photo of Gene Petrik was taken several months ago in his Gasquet garden. (Stephen M. Corley/ The Daily Triplicate).

By Jennifer Henion

Triplicate staff writer

It is still uncertain why the small plane piloted by Gasquet's Gene Petrik went down Wednesday in the Lake Earl Wildlife Area.

Petrik, 72, was in the air about 40 minutes when his one- or two-passenger plane dropped into the trees near the Dead Lake trail system.

"There probably won't be any information until the investigators get back to Sacramento and study their notes," said Del Norte County Sheriffs Department Commander George Mina.

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration came from Sacramento Thursday and looked over the wreckage until Friday on behalf of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

According to Crescent City Airport manager Dan Harrison, the preliminary investigation is finished and the plane wreckage will be turned over to the owner or insurance company covering the plane for them to remove the debris to a secure location.

Once at the new location, Harrison said the NTSB will study the wreckage again before concluding what caused the crash.

"And typically they won't release a report until they are finished," Harrison said.

Petrik did not submit a flight plan with the airport the day of the crash. Filing a plan is not required, said Harrison, if pilots of small private planes follow the "visual flight rules."

Petrik was a 43-year resident of Del Norte County and spent his life teaching Del Norte children how to sing and play musical instruments.

"He was a teacher that most all of the kids really liked. He was a really devoted person and he touched the lives of many many people," said Bill Parker who worked with Petrik at the Del Norte County Unified School District.

Funeral services for Petrik will be at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 9, at St. Joseph's Church.


Del Norte Triplicate:

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P.O. Box 277
Crescent City, CA 95531

(707) 464-2141

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