FAIRFIELD (KPIX 5) — An autopsy report said it wasn’t the crash or the upside-down slide that killed pilot Eddie Andreini during an airshow at Travis Air Force Base last month. The report indicates he had survived the crash, only to be burned to death.
It is reported that Andreini was stuck in his seat and was calling for help.
Pilots believe firefighters on the base and overseeing the event took too long to get there. They said had first responders had gotten there faster, the 77-year-old pilot might have survived.
Veteran pilot Doug Porch has survived two plane crashes and told KPIX 5 that time is precious in a crash. “In a case like that, every second does make a difference, that’s for sure,” Porch said.
Woody Harris, also a pilot, said, “It certainly didn’t look like an accident that would have resulted in mortal injury.”
Witnesses recording the accident complained it took first responders longer than expected to get there. From the time the plane came to a complete stop, to the time the first fire truck reached the plane, it took four minutes and 15 seconds.
Retired Vallejo firefighter Bill Tweedy said that’s not slow, but the normal response time. “They weren’t in their turnout ready to go. You couldn’t stand around all day and expect them to perform in the case of emergency if they’re dehydrated or overheated because they’re in their turnout gear for four to five hours,” he said.
Also, 12 seconds after the plane stopped, flames became visible. Fire experts said it would have been difficult to get there that quick to save the pilot.
Travis Air Force Base only sent out a statement saying their thoughts are with the victim’s family. They would not answer any questions as to why it took firefighters on the base over four minutes to reach the plane.
The NTSB is leading the investigation. It could take months to release its final report.