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Long Is. crash report says power ‘declined’ in engines

The aircraft that crash landed on Long Island shortly after takeoff earlier this month, which left one woman dead, was airborne for roughly two minutes before the power in both engines started to decline, a preliminary report by the Air Accident Investigation Authority (AAIA) said.

The report noted that the cause of the crash is still under investigation.

The Piper Navajo aircraft took off from the Deadman’s Cay Airport at 9:05 a.m. on June 5 with seven people onboard.

The pilot reported that he arrived at the airport at 8:10 a.m. to conduct his routine pre-flight checks of the aircraft.

“Shortly thereafter, he and the six passengers boarded the aircraft and prepared for their departure,” the report read.

“According to the pilot, after conducting his pre-takeoff checks, he taxied to the runaway and departed.

“The pilot further stated that during the climb phase and shortly after the aircraft’s gears were retracted, he observed a warning light that indicated low oil pressure. Shortly thereafter, and at approximately 200 feet, the left engine started to decline significantly. An attempt was made to return to the airfield. Shortly thereafter, the right engine power also started to decline.

“The pilot stated that at that moment, he advised the passengers to brace for impact. The terrain warning aural alarm could be heard in the aircraft. Both pilot and several passengers interviewed confirmed that an alarm was heard throughout the accident sequence up until the aircraft made contact with the surface. 

“The aircraft made contact with several trees before impacting the ground, coming to rest approximately 75 feet after initial contact with trees.”

The report noted the crash site was located two nautical miles from Deadman’s Cay Airport in dense brush.

The pilot and five passengers exited the plane and discovered that the female passenger, who was seated at the rear of the plane, was ejected. They found her lying on the ground approximately five feet from the aircraft.

The report noted that she appeared to be unconscious and the pilot, along with another passenger, rendered assistance.

Despite the assistance, the woman later died.

Following an onsite visit, investigators determined, “The right wing of the aircraft appeared to have made first impact with the trees.

“Shortly thereafter, the fuselage of the aircraft and the left wing made contact with the ground and surrounding trees. The density and thickness of the trees in the area where the aircraft crashed limited the distance the aircraft traveled after impact with the surface.”

It noted that the pilot was issued an Airline Transport Pilot License with airplane-single and multi-engine land and instrument airplane ratings. He was also in possession of a first class medical certificate.

The survivors were identified as pilot Brad McPhee, Nia Bethel-Sears, Leannka Rigby, Patsy Higgs, Rhiannon Thompson and Alicia Rolle.

Aleitheia Newbold, 22, who had a six-month-old daughter, died.

According to the report, the accident aircraft was recovered from the scene and transported to the United States where AAIA investigators and investigators from the manufacturer of the aircraft (airframe) and engines will conduct further inspections and analysis to determine the cause of the accident.

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Travis Cartwright-Carroll

Travis Cartwright-Carroll is the assistant editor. He covers a wide range of national issues. He joined The Nassau Guardian in 2011 as a copy editor before shifting to reporting. He was promoted to assistant news editor in December 2018.

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