NTSB: Pilot in fatal crash reported engine trouble

Salvage workers bring out part of a Piper PA-34's fuselage, wing, and landing gear from a crash site Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015 in Kuttawa, Ky. Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board arrived at the crash site Sunday in Kentucky in which a 7-year-old girl survived and four of her family members were killed. Authorities said the child, dressed in a short-sleeve shirt, shorts and one sock, walked about a mile (more than a kilometer) in near-freezing temperatures through thick briar patches and woods before finding a home where she sought help. The plane went down in a deeply wooded area and required special machinery to remove. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A preliminary report shows that the pilot of a small plane flying over western Kentucky lost sight of the airport and reported the right engine had stopped shortly before the plane crashed and killed everyone aboard except a 7-year-old girl.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s report says air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane about 5:55 p.m. on Jan. 2, about five minutes after the pilot had asked for assistance because of engine problems. The pilot’s last contact with controllers was that he had lost sight of the airport.

The Piper PA-34 landed upside down with the landing gear retracted. The crash killed pilot Marty Gutzler; his wife, Kimberly; their daughter Piper; and her cousin, Sierra Wilder. The couple’s daughter Sailor survived the crash.


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