NTSB Confirms It’s Investigating Fatal Forest County Plane Crash, Asks Witnesses to Come Forward

January 3, 2024

MARIENVILLE, Pa. – The National Transportation Safety Board confirmed that it is investigating the fatal plane crash that occurred in Forest County on Dec. 29, 2023, and expects to have a preliminary report within 30 days.

John Burley, 59 of Windber, the owner of Everything Ice, INC, in Johnstown, Pa., was found dead at the site of the plane crash along Buzzard Swamp Road.

In an email to Your Daily Local, Peter C. Knudson with NTSB Media Relations confirmed that an NTSB investigator had traveled to the crash site to “document the scene and examine the aircraft.”

“NTSB is investigating the crash of a Myers Winfred Stol CH 701 airplane near Marienville, Pennsylvania, on Dec. 29,” Knudson wrote in the email. “NTSB investigations involve three primary areas: the pilot, the aircraft, and the operating environment. During the on-scene phase of the investigative process, the NTSB does not determine or speculate about the cause of the accident.”

Knudson said a preliminary report should be available within 30 days, with a final report expected in 12 – 24 months.

“The preliminary report will contain factual information gathered during the initial phase of the investigation,” Knudson said. “A probable cause of the crash along with any contributing factors will be detailed in the final report.”

As part of the investigation, the NTSB will gather the following information and records:

  • Flight track data
  • Recordings of any air traffic control communications
  • Aircraft maintenance records
  • Weather forecasts and actual weather and lighting conditions around the time of the accident
  • Pilot’s license, ratings, and recency of flight experience
  • 72-hour background of the pilot to determine if any issues could have affected the pilot’s ability to safety operate the flight
  • Witness statements
  • Electronic devices that could contain information relevant to the investigation
  • Any available surveillance video, including from doorbell cameras

Witnesses to the accident or those who have surveillance video or other information that could be relevant to the investigation are asked to contact the NTSB at [email protected].

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