NTSB Releases First Findings in Fatal Outer Banks Jet Crash

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The plane crashed into an industrial building in Farmington, Connecticut. [courtesy NBC Connecticut]

Early findings show the parking brake was likely still on when a charter plane bound for the Dare County Regional Airport crashed in Connecticut in early September, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, killing four people in edge and injuring four on the ground.

Two pilots and a married couple were aboard a Cessna Citation 560X business jet that took off from Robertson Field Airport in Plainville, Connecticut on September 2.

Witnesses said the plane immediately encountered problems and struck the ground before skidding off the side of an industrial building in the town of Farmington.

William O’Leary, 55, of Bristol, Connecticut, and Mark Morrow, 57, of Danbury, were the pilots. The passengers were Courtney Haviland, 33, and William Shrauner, 31, husband and wife of Boston, Massachusetts.

The couple both worked as doctors in Boston, Shrauner at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Haviland at MassGeneral Hospital for Children. They had a 1 year old son and Haviland was pregnant with their second child.

One person on the ground was seriously injured, while three others were slightly injured.

According to the NTSB report released this week, two witnesses observed the take-off roll and one of them reported that the aircraft was “traveling slower” than they had seen on previous take-offs.

While the aircraft was about two-thirds of the way from the runway, a witness noticed a puff of blue smoke coming from the rear of the aircraft.

The other witness said the nose landing gear was still on the ground as the plane passed a taxiway intersection near the middle of the runway and told a friend with him that something was wrong not.

A third witness, who was beyond the departure end of the runway, noticed that the aircraft had left the runway level. After clearing the runway, the nose of the aircraft pitched up, but the aircraft did not climb.

The aircraft then struck a power line pole, causing a small explosion near the right engine followed by a shower of sparks the size of a softball.

After hitting the pole, the engine noise changed from a normal sound to a much more squeaky and metallic sound. The aircraft then began to oscillate around its pitch and roll axis before the witness lost sight of it behind trees.

Investigators found extensive tire tracks on the runway, and that the parking brake was in the set position and a related valve was also in a position indicating it was activated.

The report also noted that flight data indicated that the aircraft was at a lower takeoff speed just before the crash than that recorded on previous takeoffs.

A final report on the accident could take up to two years before it is completed and published.

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read more local stories here.


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