FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – The National Transportation Safety Board is releasing new details as they try to determine what caused a deadly plane crash near Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport last week.
Investigators say a witness told them it appears the plane stalled shortly after takeoff, before banking and crashing to the ground.The report also says that witness — a pilot — told investigators the plane had trouble climbing and could barely clear the obstacles at the end of the runway.
The report also said the plane’s owner — MAS Inc. — told the NTSB that the twin engine plane was checked in the days before the crash.
The crash killed pilot Stephen Waller and passengers Wally Watson and his son Kevin on what should have been a routine maintenance check as the plane was readied for export to a customer in Colombia.
CBS 4 News showed the preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board to veteran pilot and instructor Paul Kramer. Although Kramer didn’t witness the crash, he says the report the indicates the plane’s engines never developed enough power for the pilot to gain proper speed.
“He tried to turn back to the airport,” Kramer explained to CBS 4’s Carey Codd. “He tried to do it slowly but the airplane was going so slow that as soon as he started to bank, it steepened and the aircraft stalled and crashed.”
The NTSB report doesn’t mention any reasons why the planes engines might have stalled.
The report does say that Waller made an emergency call but he did not say what the emergency was before the accident. The pilot’s wife Kimberly told CBS 4 earlier this week that she’s confident her husband was as thorough as usual before taking off.
“He never ever took chances,” she said. “He always double and triple checked everything.”
Pilot Paul Kramer says Waller was known in the community as an excellent pilot and he believes Waller brought the plane down in a spot where the fewest lives would be in danger.
“He picked a spot it looks like that would minimize the damage,” Kramer said. “No others lives were lost. Just the three on the airplane and I would say that he’s probably a hero.”
The report also indicates the plane wasn’t flown much in the past year — just 20 hours since its’ last “documented phase inspections” performed in January 2012.