NTSB: McDuffie Island plane crash result of engine failure

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – The National Transportation Safety Board told FOX10 News Tuesday the possible reason for last week’s McDuffie Island plane crash was caused by engine failure.

The Cessna 336 Skymaster is a common pleasure aircraft seen in the skies. Many times, they are converted into agricultural aircraft. In the case of last week’s crash, the plane was spraying for mosquitoes in preparation for Friday’s July 4th celebrations at Battleship Memorial Park.

“The pilot reported that during mosquito spraying operations there was a loss of engine power on both engines. He was at low altitude at the time. Climbed and assessed the situation but could not recover the engines and the airplane would not maintain altitude so he force landed in an open field,” said Ralph Hicks with the NTSB.

The National Transportation Safety Board told FOX10 News the pilot was licensed and had more than 19,000 hours of flying time.

Hicks said since it was a non-life threatening crash, the NTSB is not actually going to be on site to investigate the incident. Instead, it is working with the local FAA, out of Birmingham, and the engine’s manufacturer – Continental Motors – at the Brooklyn Aeroplex. On Wednesday, both agencies are expected to be on site for a full investigation.

“The NTSB launches on scene when we have multiple serious or critical injuries or fatalities involved with the accident investigation. So, in this case, since the injuries were not life threatening the FAA will participate on scene on behalf of the NTSB,” said Hicks.

Hicks said there will still be a full NTSB investigation including a preliminary and factual report. There is not timeline on when those will be concluded.

FOX10 News will continue to keep you posted on the outcome.

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