NTSB: Small plane underwent upgrades before deadly crash near Conway
CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report in their investigation into the cause of the fatal plane crash in the Conway area on September 14.
The small plane crashed near the area of McNeill Road just after 12 p.m., killing both the pilot and passenger.
Horry County Deputy Coroner identified the victims as 72-year-old Barrie McMurtrie and 66-year-old Terry Druffell, both of Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina.
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According to the report, the plane took off from MYR around 12:22 p.m. and was headed for the Columbus County Municipal Airport in Whiteville, North Carolina. The pilot initially reported issues with his compass to Air Traffic Control and would be returning to MYR without declaring an emergency.
Thirty seconds later, the pilot reported a loss of engine power stating he could not make it back to the airport and would be making a landing in an off-field area.
The report states surveillance video captured part of the descent as the plane flew low near trees but cut out after it struck a powerline causing a surge. The plane initially struck a 40 ft. tree before hitting the powerline, which resulted in the loss of the right wing and the vertical stabilizer.
The plane made impact on the gravel roadway where a post-crash fire consumed most of the wreckage.
Maintenance records showed that the plane had just undergone an upgrade at a maintenance facility in Myrtle Beach. The director of maintenance said the plane had been at the facility for 6 to 7 weeks before the accident and stayed at the facility while waiting for parts due to supply chain issues.
The director also stated the only work completed on the engine was to remove the vacuum pump and installation of a blanking plate on the vacuum pump drive pad.
The logbook did not have an entry for the blanking plate installation and nor was there mention of a runup conducted post installation.
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