Federal investigators have released their report into the crash of an experimental flying-boat called a Polaris Polar Star off Dewee’s Island last year. Two people were killed in the July 2011 crash. After an investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the crash was not due to a mechanical problem, but the pilot’s actions.
Officials determined that the pilot 40-year-old Lucas McDowell Smith was not properly licensed to operate the aircraft and was also under the influence of alcohol.
The Polaris Polar Star is an experimental boat that can also be made to fly. It is made out of fabric and aluminum tubing that is attached to an inflatable dingy.
Investigators say that Smith was flying about 1,000 feet above the water trying to maneuver a loop when the wing folded under pressure. The flying-boat then crashed into shallow water, killing Smith and his passenger 27-year-old Cara Lee Donahue.
South Carolina Radio Network’s Tripp Girardeau contributed to this report.