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Probe can’t explain why small plane crashed in backyard

August 13, 2020 GMT

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A lengthy federal investigation has failed to determine why a small plane lost power mid-flight and crashed into a suburban New Jersey neighborhood in 2016.

In a final report released last week, the National Transportation Safety Board said although the pilot reported an apparent problem with the plane’s throttle moments before the crash in Lindenwold, the cause of the power loss couldn’t be determined based on the available information.

The plane carrying pilot Wayne Gilchrist and passenger David Misek came to rest upside down in a backyard. The 66-year-old Gilchrist suffered severe cuts on his face and the 72-year-old Misek sustained a broken hip, investigators said at the time.

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Gilchrist had rented the plane at Claremont Airport in Elkton, Maryland, and picked up Misek at the Flying W Airport in Medford, New Jersey. According to the NTSB report, the duo flew over Misek’s house in Cherry Hill before the plane suddenly lost power at an altitude of 1,200 feet (365 meters).

Misek told investigators Gilchrist stated, “something is wrong with the throttle” before saying, “we are going down.”

The plane, an Ercoupe 415-C manufactured in 1946, descended at about 60 mph (95 kmh) and hit trees before landing in the backyard.