Mo. Plane Wreck Probe Begins
Jul. 15, 2001
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JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) _ Investigators were focusing Saturday on bad weather or a lack of fuel as possible causes in a plane crash that killed the pilot and all five passengers.
The private plane, a Beechcraft E-55 Baron, crashed into a garage early Friday. Two men inside the home escaped injury.
Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board began examining pieces of the plane after its wreckage was hauled to the Joplin airport, about three miles from the crash.
The twin-engine aircraft left a Mansfield, La., airport late Thursday. All the victims were from Lake Charles, La.
Authorities said the plane's co-owner was going to Joplin because his 7-year-old stepdaughter had been seriously injured in a swimming accident while visiting there with her mother.
Visibility at the time was about 10 miles, but conditions were deteriorating due to an approaching storm.
Investigators also said they were looking into the possibility that the plane ran out of fuel. Witnesses said they saw no flames, only smoke, after the crash.
``We haven't found any evidence of fuel on the site, either,'' NTSB investigator David Bowling said Saturday.
Elizabeth Isham Cory, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, told The Joplin Globe that the plane missed two approaches and that the pilot reported engine trouble.