AKRON, Ohio (WKBN) – The National Transportation Safety Board has been working “around the clock” to determine what caused a plane to crash into an apartment in Akron on Tuesday afternoon, according to NTSB Vice Chairman Bella Dinh-Zarr.
“We’re still in the fat gathering stage of the investigation,” Dinh-Zarr said during a 4 p.m. press conference in Akron on Thursday.
Video released by the NTSB shows the investigation in progress. The apartment next door to the crash has three windows boarded up, and there is a gash on the ground, possibly made by the plane on impact.
“The airplane structure was predominantly consumed by the fire and impact sources,” Dinh-Zarr said Thursday.
She said investigators began their first full day of the investigation at 7 a.m. and examined primary flight controls, landing gear and a cockpit voice recorder (CVR) recovered from the wreckage. Despite the intense fire, all four corners of the plane, along with the flight controls and landing gear, are present.
Dinh-Zarr said the CVR tape was not damaged, but the recording was “poor quality.” She said the tape captured the “sounds of impact,” and prior to the crash, the pilot and crew discussed landing procedures and weather conditions, but she did not elaborate.
“The quality is quite poor, so we want to look at all the aspects,” she said.
Investigators are looking at weather conditions as a part of the investigation, and Dinh-Zarr said there was a reported overcast and wind at the time of the crash. She stressed that NTSB will not speculate on the cause of the accident.
Dinh-Zarr said the Hawker 125-700, built in 1979, appeared to be intact prior to impact and it had been in a landing position. Both the pilot and co-pilot were highly certified, with Federal Aviation Association licenses and 10,500 hours of flight time logged between the two of them.
The plane was attempting to land at Akron Fulton Airport prior to the crash.
“We have to gather these facts to determine what caused this accident and prevent further accidents from occurring,” Dinh-Zarr said.
Also at the press conference was Summit County Medical Examiner Dr. Lisa Kohler, who provided a brief report, although she would not release the names of the crash victims just yet.
“We recovered all of the bodies as of yesterday at about 2 p.m., and they have been brought into my office and we’re ongoing with our process of examining the bodies and making those identifications,” she said.
It has been reported that those on the plane included employees of Pebb Enterprises, a real estate company based in Boca Raton, Florida.
Dinh-Zarr said she expects that the NTSB will be in Akron for two days, although the investigation may take longer. Debris from the plane is still being taken from the scene on Mogadore Road.
Updates will be continue to be provided from the NTSB, she said.