The cockpit recorder recovered from a private plane crash that killed 10 people near Dallas, Texas, Sunday indicated pilots were having a problem with the left engine, investigators said.
Twelve seconds before the cockpit recording ends, voices could be heard “consistent with confusion,” Bruce Landsberg, vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said at a news conference about the plane crash in Texas.
The recorder also picked up signals indicating a problem with the left engine and three alerts warning of the airplane banking.
The twin-engine Beechcraft BE-350 King Air crashed shortly after it took off Sunday from Addison Airport, about 15 miles north of Dallas. The Fort Lauderdale, Florida-bound plane banked as it was ascending and collided with an empty hangar and burst into flames, killing the two crew members and eight passengers aboard. There were no survivors.
The plane crash killed Ornella and Brian Ellard, the mother and stepfather of Alice Maritato, 15, and Dylan Maritato, 13, who were also killed; Steve Thelen and wife Gina Thelen; John Titus and Mary Titus; Matthew Palmer; and a tenth person who remained unidentified as of midday on July 2.
According to CNN, Mr. Ellard was the co-owner of Mille Lire, an acclaimed Italian restaurant in downtown Dallas. The couple owned a yacht and frequently spent holidays on the water in St. Petersburg, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
David Snell, a pilot who witnessed the fiery plane crash from a nearby hangar, told CBS News that the plane appeared to have problems from the start.
“Myself and my other pilot friend, we knew that the plane was not producing the type of takeoff power that it typically would by the sound, plus it wasn’t climbing the way it typically would and it appeared a little tail low and we knew that airplane was in trouble,” he said.
NTSB investigators said the wreckage of the plane crash was badly burned and in pieces from its impact with the hanger, but they hoped that the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) would yield more clues upon further analysis.
“The other thing we may be able to get out of it is some background noise that is picked up by the CVR, which will give us a little better idea of what’s going on with the airplane itself,” Mr. Landsberg told the press.
Other considerations in the plane crash investigation include local weather conditions at the time of the crash, the flight team’s experience and training, air traffic control communications, and the airplane’s maintenance records.