- Associated Press - Thursday, January 8, 2015

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) - Investigators for the National Transportation Safety Board say a plane made “several erratic maneuvers” before it crashed into a hillside near Flathead Lake in northwestern Montana last month, killing the pilot and injuring a passenger.

The Flathead Beacon reported Wednesday (https://bit.ly/1yDbY64 ) that investigators say the two-seat Piper was flying low to the ground before the crash, and witnesses say the plane’s engine accelerated and revved just before impact.

Killed in the crash was 33-year-old Brett Thoft, of Wasilla, Alaska. His passenger, Tim Schauss, of Lake County, was critically injured.

According to the preliminary report, Schauss bought the plane Sept. 30 and was learning to become a pilot. Just before the Dec. 16 crash, Thoft, a Federal Aviation Administration certified mechanic, replaced the propeller on the plane.

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Information from: Flathead Beacon, https://www.flatheadbeacon.com

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