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Originally published Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 3:30 PM

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Bad weather cited in crash that killed Amazon exec

Flying conditions were poor and visibility low before a crash that killed an Amazon.com executive and his pilot on the way to northern Michigan's Mackinac Island, a new federal report says.

The Associated Press

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@shadowfox1988: Have some respect, dude, these two men died. Just so you know, Mackinac... MORE
Shadowfox, are your other comments as embarrassingly uninformed as this one? This is a... MORE
Who flies in a plane for 4.5 miles? Apparently cars are too proletariat for Amazon execs. MORE

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ST. IGNACE, Mich. —

Flying conditions were poor and visibility low before a crash that killed an Amazon.com executive and his pilot on the way to northern Michigan's Mackinac Island, a new federal report says.

The National Transportation Safety Board reported Thursday on the Dec. 3, 2011, crash of a single-engine charter plane crash. The accident killed pilot Joseph Pann Jr., 29, of St. Ignace, and Thomas Phillips, 52, who had homes in Kirkland, Wash., and Mackinac Island.

The Piper Cherokee left St. Ignace for a 4.5-mile flight to the resort island. It crashed about 1.6 miles from the St. Ignace airport near the Lake Huron shoreline of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Pann worked for Great Lakes Air, and another company pilot working for the company told Pann that morning that weather would keep Pann from flying that day, The Detroit News ( http://bit.ly/14KDfzD) reported.

Pann "seemed relieved that he was not going to have to fly to the island that evening," according to the report. The name of the other pilot wasn't released.

The pilot later left a message for Phillips that the weather was not very good, but that "it should improve later in the day so the passenger should take his time getting to St. Ignace," the report said.

About 6 p.m. that night, the other pilot told Pann that the weather was improving and he could now see the bluff on Mackinac Island from the St. Ignace airport.

The other pilot said conditions were still challenging, and there was a ceiling of clouds at 800 feet. That would have made an instrument landing necessary.

"Don't do anything dumb," the other pilot said he told Pann.

A radar made four sightings of an airplane close to Mackinac Island between 7:58 p.m. and 8 p.m., the report said.

The first location was north of the island airport, the second was farther north, the third was east of the island and the fourth showed the aircraft over water and "indicated that the airplane had turned back to the north," the report said.

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