Pilot remains hospitalized after plane crash

Feds will investigate crash at Shiprock Airstrip

The Daily Times staff
A small passenger plane sits off the runway after being flipped by the wind on Thursday at the Shiprock Airstrip.

FARMINGTON — Joe Tumminaro — the pilot injured in Thursday's propeller plane crash at the Shiprock Airstrip — remained in serious condition Friday afternoon, according to San Juan Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Laura Werbner.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board said Friday that the federal agency was notified of the crash and has started an investigation.

"The NTSB investigator determined he did not need to go to the scene," spokesman Chris O'Neil said. "He is doing what's called a desk investigation."

O'Neil said a final report will be released once the investigation is complete.

Tumminaro, a licensed airline transport pilot, was practicing a "touch and go" landing procedure in a single-engine Cessna when a gust of wind flipped the aircraft onto the paved airstrip, according to a Navajo Police Department press release.

Tumminaro, 67, was transported by helicopter to San Juan Regional Medical Center, the release states. A passenger, Ryan Arroyo, did not report injuries, but he was also transported to the Farmington hospital.

Werbner said Friday that Arroyo, 33, is no longer at the hospital.

Arroyo said in an interview Thursday the two men departed from their hometown of Durango, Colo.,  that morning on a sightseeing trip.

Navajo Division of Transportation spokesman Carl Slater said Friday that a review of records indicated there had never before been a crash at the Shiprock Airstrip. Slater said the airstrip reopened on Friday.

New Mexico State Police are continuing to investigate the crash, according to press release issued Friday.