UNQUALIFIED, UNSCHEDULED PILOT REPLACED REGULAR PILOT MINUTES BEFORE EX-CIA DIRECTOR STANSFIELD TURNER'S PLANE CRASHED. CIA RESTRICTED CRASH SITE DURING RESCUE OPERATIONS.
Strategic Intelligence, an online publication, reported (2/23/00) it received information that an unauthorized crew change occurred minutes before the Taxi Aereo Centroamericano LET 410, carrying ex-CIA Director Stansfield Turner, took off and crashed in San Jose, Costa Rica on January 15, 2000. Strategic Intelligence's news source is with Aero Centraoamericano.
Minutes before the departure of flight LET 410, an unscheduled, unqualified pilot informed the regularly scheduled pilot, Juan Carlos that he would take the pilot's seat. The pilots then argued. An operations supervisor for Taxio Aereo Centroamericano settled the argument and authorized the unqualified pilot to take the seat. The supervisor acknowledged that the change of pilots was unscheduled and gave Juan Carlos additional flight time to compensate his change in schedule.
Minutes later, the plane crashed into a house in a local subdivision near the Tobias Bolanos airport. Karen Turner, the wife of ex-CIA Director, Admiral Stansfield Turner, was killed in the crash. Admiral Stansfield Turner was severely injured and eventually transported to an Army hospital in Texas. Also killed in the crash were Siegrid Richert and his wife, Therese, who were residents of Lafayette, CA. Seigrid Richert, a tour operator, was the President of the Peck Judah Travel Service, Inc., San Francisco, CA. Spaniard Antonio Sanchez Diaz was also killed. On February 2, 2000, the substitute pilot died from injuries received during the crash in San Jose. Sixteen other people were injured in the crash.
Strategic Intelligence also reports: "Within minutes following the crash, the CIA's Costa Rican Station Chief was observed combing through the aircraft wreckage, restricting access to rescue personnel. The mostly intact aircraft was stripped of all cargo to include carry on items. This was accomplished while passengers were being evacuated."
Flight LET 410 had been destined for the Tortuguero national park on Costa Rica's Atlantic coast.