NTSB report released in fatal McKenzie Bridge plane crash

The NTSB preliminary report details witness accounts of the plane's behavior on takeoff. It also reveals what contributed to the plane's fatal descent.

Posted: Sep 6, 2019 8:09 AM
Updated: Sep 6, 2019 10:37 AM

MCKENZIE BRIDGE, Ore. -- New details are emerging in the fatal plane crash at the McKenzie Bridge airport in east Lane County.

The new details come from the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) preliminary crash report.

The report was released about a week after the plane crash on Aug. 27.

RELATED: Two confirmed dead in plane crash near McKenzie Bridge 

According to the Lane County Sheriff's Office, Steven Pasiack, 23, and Jake Kelley, 22, both from Lebanon, died in the crash. LCSO investigators said Pasiack was the pilot and Kelley was the passenger. The plane went down shortly after 7 p.m., according to investigators. 

MORE: McKenzie Bridge plane crash victims identified 

In the NTSB's preliminary report, there is a new photo revealed of a 120 foot tall tree, with its top cut off. This is what the pilot first crashed into before the plane dove into the ground, according to the NTSB. 

NTSB Investigator Stephen Stein compiled the preliminary report. He spoke to three witnesses on the ground at the airfield,= who said they saw the plane fly past them before crashing into the woods. 

"According to two of the witnesses, the airplane was about 5 feet above ground level flying east on Runway 06 when it came into their visual range. The airplane appeared to be moving slowly as the wings rocked; however, the engine sounded smooth and continuous," wrote Stein. 

Seconds later, according to witnesses, the plane began a "shallow" climb as the plane's wings continued to rock. The witnesses said the plane at that point was about 20 feet above ground level. 

"The third witness reported that the engine harmonic resembled a low power setting when the airplane came into his view," wrote Stein. "The engine power then increased and the airplane yawed from left to right as the wings rocked just before the airplane disappeared behind a group of trees. Approximately 15 minutes later, one of the witnesses observed dark smoke coming from the accident site."

Also revealed in the NTSB report is where the pilot originally took off from -- Lebanon Airport at about 6 p.m. that night. That's about an hour and a half before the crash at the McKenzie Bridge airport. The distance between the Lebanon Airport and the crash site is about 48 nautical miles. 

The NTSB said there was no flight plan filed for the local flight. Click here for more information on flight plans, as explained by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. 

The NTSB's preliminary report is not the agency's final findings. 

Stay with KEZI 9 News for updates.

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