Personal injury attorney Steve Barnes can be heard telling air traffic controllers “everything’s fine” before they lost contact with him and his plane crashed, radio transmissions show.
Barnes and his niece were killed Friday morning when the plane he was piloting went down near Pembroke, N.Y., about 26 miles east of Buffalo. Barnes was returning from Manchester, N.H., and was slated to attend a birthday party for his mother, the Buffalo News reported.
Barnes, 61, was a partner in Cellino & Barnes, famed for its catchy commercial jingle. Barnes and Ross Cellino Jr. had just been through a nasty battle over splitting up the firm.
The flight’s radio transmissions, which VASAviation posted on YouTube, reveal air traffic controllers in Boston and Buffalo attempted to reach Barnes several times before he finally responded.
“I somehow lost comm with center, but I’m landing at Buffalo,” he can be heard saying.
“We’ve been trying to get ahold of you … I’ll get you lower here shortly,” a Buffalo controller said.
Barnes then asked for vectors to a runway at the Buffalo airport. He was told to maintain 8,000 feet and a controller can then be heard asking him, “Everyone OK up there?”
“Yes, sir. Everything’s fine,” he responded.
But the flight went awry with the control tower asking “Where you headed?”
The pilot was told to “Stop your descent,” and to maintain 10,000 feet.
“Stop your descent, level your wings, maintain any altitude,” the controller can be heard saying without any response.
The pilot is asked one more time, “How do you hear?” before radar contact was lost.
Those on the ground described the plane making a loud, whining noise, then dropping into a wooded area and exploding, according to Genesee County Sheriff William Sheron.
With Post wires and additional reporting by Yaron Steinbuch