Crosslake pilot stoned at time of crash, NTSB says

The National Transportation Safety Board says the pilot of a small plane that crashed last summer near Brainerd was probably stoned while flying.

The NTSB has posted the findings of its investigation into the crash on Upper Whitefish Lake near Crosslake. It said the medical examiner found drug paraphernalia in the shirt pocked of the pilot, Dan Steffen, 55, of Crosslake. Toxicology results were consistent with impairment because of the marijuana, the NTSB said. Steffen was killed in the crash. His passenger, Frederick Hammer, 61 of Crosslake survived.

Hammer told investigators the two were looking for walleye spots on the lake.

The airplane was flying too slow over the lake at the time, it stalled and spun into the water, according to the investigation.

  • BJ

    Did the survivor confirm it?

    • No, but his statement to the authorities said he went home to get his camera after they pulled the plane out of the hangar and was gone for about an hour.

  • Jamie

    If you look at the toxicology report the levels of THC are so low that it is improbable that the pilot was “stoned”. That amount of THC would stay in your system 48 hours or longer after smoking it. Bad reporting by Bob Collins.

    • Really, maybe if you’d read the NTSB report, you’ll see that this is the conclusion of the NTSB. Take it up with their forensics staff.

      Let’s look again at the NTSB’s probable cause of the crash on a day in which the weather was perfect and in a plane that had no mechanical issues:

      “The medical examiner found drug paraphernalia in the pilot’s shirt pocket. Postaccident toxicology testing was consistent with impairment of the pilot due to his use of marijuana prior to the accident.”

      Do much flying, Jamie?

  • Jamie