July 3, 2019 / 8:56 AM / 3 months ago

Crew confusion, engine trouble recorded in final seconds of doomed flight, NTSB says

July 3 (Reuters) - A plane that crashed in suburban Dallas and killed 10 passengers and crew had trouble with its left engine, according to the last few seconds of a cockpit voice recording, officials said on Tuesday.

Just after the plane took off on Sunday, the crew's comments were "consistent with confusion" about 12 seconds before the recording ends, National Transportation Safety Board officials said at a news briefing.

"Crew comment regarding a problem with the left engine occurred about eight seconds before the end of the recording," NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said in the televised news conference. Then three audible alerts were activated before the end of the recording, he said.

The Beechcraft 350i Super King Air crashed into a hangar and burst into flames shortly after taking off from Addison Airport, about 15 miles (24 km) north of Dallas, on its way to St. Petersburg, Florida. It carried eight passengers and two crew members.

Federal investigators retrieved the cockpit voice recorder from the wreckage on Monday.

The pilots were Howard Cassady and Matthew Palmer, according to the Dallas Morning News. Their passengers were Steve and Gina Thelen, John and Mary Titus, and Alice and Dylan Maritato and their mother Ornella Ellard and stepfather Brian Ellard.

Investigators have determined that the plane's landing gear was down when it crashed, but it's unlikely they will be able to analyze other systems because of the extensive destruction and fire, said Jennifer Rodi, a NTSB safety investigator.

The crash ripped a large gash in the roof of the hangar and damaged a helicopter and another plane inside, the NTSB said.

The NTSB said it may release a preliminary report on the crash within two weeks. (Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; editing by Larry King)

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