NTSB: No distress call made in crash

By The Mercury

No distress call was made prior to the fatal April 7 crash of a private plane headed from Tulsa, Okla., to Manhattan, according to a report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

Ronald Marshall and Chris Gruber of Manhattan were killed when the plane, a single-engine Mooney M20J, crashed into a vacant house in Collinsville, Okla.

Marshall, a commercially rated pilot who owned the plane, was flying; Gruber was his only passenger.

A preliminary review of air traffic control and radar data by the NTSB showed that communications with the Tulsa International Airport tower were normal, and “the last acknowledgement from the pilot was that the airplane was cleared to 6,000 feet,” according to the report.

There were no emergency or distress calls from the pilot, it said.

Radar data showed the airplane headed north in a shallow climb. The airplane reached 4,100 feet before making a descending right turn. That’s when the plane disappeared from radar, according to the report.

The crash left a crater 10 feet wide and 4 feet deep in the ground below.

A post-crash fire burned part of the fuselage and rear stabilizer. Much of the wreckage was scattered around the site, but the report didn’t seem to indicate that any parts had broken off prior to the crash or that they had been found far away as previously reported.

The report also said that weather conditions were favorable for flying and didn’t appear to have contributed to the crash.

The funeral for Gruber is planned for Friday.

For the full report, go to http://www.themercury.com.

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