Ohio officials confirm nine dead in fiery jet crash

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 11, 2015 11:20 AM

By Kim Palmer

AKRON (Reuters) - A pilot on a business jet made no distress calls before a fiery crash in Ohio that killed all nine people on board, investigators said on Wednesday.

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board as well as Akron police were at the crash site on Wednesday. A 10-passenger Hawker business jet struck an apartment building on Tuesday while approaching the Akron Fulton airport.

The flight manifest showed seven passengers, a pilot and a co-pilot were on board at the time of the crash and their families have been notified, said Ohio State Patrol spokesman Bill Haymaker.

NTSB investigators have recovered the flight data recorder and it has been sent to Washington, D.C., NTSB vice chairman Bella Dinh-Zarr told reporters. Investigators are expected to be on the scene for four to five days, Dinh-Zarr said.

Another pilot who landed at Akron Fulton airport prior to the crash told investigators there were no distress calls over the radio from the pilot on the Hawker jet.

Video shows that the jet was flying at a low altitude when it banked left. The left wing hit the ground and the plane clipped electrical power lines before it crashed through a four-unit apartment block, eventually stopping on an embankment, Dinh-Zarr said.

Nobody was in the building when it was engulfed in flames.

"Weather is a key area we are looking at," Dinh-Zarr said adding investigators hoped to begin the recovery of the aircraft Thursday. The weather was windy and wet in Akron on Tuesday afternoon, with a low cloud ceiling.

Haymaker described the area affected by the crash as "relatively small" and said the debris was somewhat contained by the embankment.

Real estate firm Pebb Enterprises of Boca Raton, Florida, said seven of its employees died in the crash.

The company released a statement on Wednesday that asked for "understanding and cooperation at this time of unimaginable loss and mourning."

(Editing by Mary Wisniewski, Matthew Lewis and Chris Reese)