Pilot Reported Instrument Problems After Takeoff
A successful businesswoman and her son were the victims of the
Friday night downing of a Cessna 525 CitationJet near Augusta,
Jeanette Symons and her 10-year-old, Balan, were the only
persons onboard the Citation, which took off from Augusta State
Airport (AUG) at 1745 local time Friday, bound for Lincoln, NE.
Symons, the founder and CEO of the youth-oriented social networking
website Industrious Kid, was the owner and pilot of the aircraft,
reports the Augusta Sun Journal. The plane's registry was
Flying under an IFR flight plan, Symons made radio contact with
departure control at Portland International Jetport after takeoff.
Soon thereafter, with the jet at about 3,000 feet, she declared an
emergency due to apparent instrument failure. The paper says the
pilot reported a problem with the aircraft's altitude
FAA spokesman Jim Peters said the controller attempted to vector
the Citation (type shown below, right) back to Augusta, but lost
contact with the jet and then saw it descend rapidly on radar. The
plane impacted terrain roughly 10 miles from AUG, leaving a debris
field about 300 yards long.
Weather conditions at the time of
the accident were less than optimal, according to AUG airport
manager John Guimond, with freezing rain from a passing storm
blanketing the area. "Taking off in that may have been a bad idea,"
Tim Donovan, co-founder of Industrious Kid and a friend of
Symon's, said Balan was the inspiration for the launch of the
company's social networking site, Imbee.com. The site provides
blogs and social posting for children, that can be monitored by
"Her kids wanted to be online, but she wanted to be in control
and that is where Industrious Kids came from," Donovan said.
Symons and her son reportedly arrived in Maine last weekend, for
a week-long ski camp at Sugarloaf USA. Her eight-year-old daughter
was at home in Steamboat Springs, CO, during the trip.