A passenger who survived a plane crash in Auburn, California, last month that killed the pilot told investigators that the aircraft lost engine power during its initial climb.

The unidentified passenger, also a pilot, was flying in a single-engine plane with Dr. John Kirby, 72, a surgeon and outgoing mayor of Auburn, California, when the crash occurred about 10:41 a.m. local time on April 18.

The passenger told National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators that Dr. Kirby attempted to execute an emergency landing after the aircraft lost power shortly after takeoff, but lost control and crashed.

The passenger also reported that there were no warning lights or alerts in the cockpit prior to impact, the NTSB noted in its preliminary report of the plane crash.

Radar data indicated that the airplane took off from Auburn Municipal Airport and turned to the left while climbing about 155 ft. The Cessna then turned 90 degrees to the right and started to descend until radar data was lost about 1,500 ft northwest of the runway from where the plane had taken off. The flight lasted less than one minute.

Dr. Kirby, a practicing urologist and self-described “Teddy Roosevelt Republican,” was killed in the plane crash, which came just days after he announced he would step down as mayor on April 27 after making controversial remarks about Donald Trump on social media. The passenger is recovering from serious injuries.

According to the NTSB, the passenger reported that Dr. Kirby had planned to fly another plane he owned but decided to fly his Cessna 206 after noting discrepancies with the first plane during the pre-flight checklist. There were no discrepancies noted during the pre-flight checklist for the Cessna 206.

The NTSB has removed the plane crash wreckage to a warehouse and continues its investigation. The agency typically releases its final report with or without a determination of cause within 12 to 18 months of opening an investigation.

Aviation litigation

Beasley Allen lawyer Mike Andrews focuses much of his practice on aviation litigation and currently represents families of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 victims involving the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. In addition to his Ethiopian Airlines crash clients, Mike has represented people seriously injured in a variety of aviation crashes, and the families of those killed in both civilian and military airplane crashes and helicopter crashes.

Additional source: Sacramento Bee

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