Low power, altitude cited as possible causes of Holston Mtn. pla - CBS46 News

Low power, altitude cited as possible causes of Holston Mtn. plane crash

The crashed Cessna. The crashed Cessna.
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ELIZABETHTON, TN (WJHL) -

Low altitude and insufficient power were cited by a pilot as possible reasons for the crash of his airplane shortly after takeoff from the Elizabethton Municipal Airport in March, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

Pilot Scott Miller of Orrville, Ohio, and passengers Andrea Denning and her 15-year-old son both of Dalton, Ohio, were aboard a Cessna airplane bound for Wadsworth, Ohio when it crashed on Holston Mountain on March 18 around 7:30 p.m.

The pilot stopped for fuel at Elizabethton after landing at an airfield in Mountain City and finding fuel services there were closed.

After fueling at Elizabethton, Miller took off and headed north toward Holston Mountain.

The plane was ascending at 500 feet per minute but as the craft neared the peak of the mountain the pilot realized it would not clear the terrain, according to the report.

He considered returning to the airport but noticed a small valley to his right that appeared to be lower in elevation, so he turned the plane that direction; however, during this maneuver the plane began to descend.

The pilot realized he was going to crash and rolled the aircraft on its left side to avoid trees.

The left wing hit trees and the plane fell to the ground. See video of the crash site by clicking here.

According to the report, during the pilot’s interview after the crash he said he “should have gained more altitude before starting his climb over the mountain, but felt the airplane ‘should have had more power.’”

Investigators did not find anything wrong with the airplane’s frame.

The engine will be further examined by the NTSB.

The NTSB report is preliminary and subject to change.

Search crews quickly found the plane after a helicopter search crew was guided to the spot by one of the plane's occupants who was talking to 911 using a cell phone. Ground crews then spent all night reaching the crash site and rescuing the passengers.

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