By: CHARLES WILSON
INDIANAPOLIS – A private jet coming in for an emergency landing bounced several times on the runway of a northern Indiana airport before crashing into nearby homes, killing two people and injuring three more, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary report released Friday.
The March 17 crash in South Bend killed former University of Oklahoma quarterback Steve Davis and Tulsa, Okla., businessman Wes Caves, who were flying the plane. Two passengers and a woman on the ground were injured. All three have since been released from a local hospital.
NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway told The Associated Press that investigators have yet to determine which man was the pilot.
“We’re still looking at that,” Holloway said.
The preliminary report said the Hawker Beechcraft jet began its journey in Tulsa, Okla., and was coming in to land at the South Bend airport when the pilot said he had to make an emergency landing.
“We’ve lost all power, and we have no hydraulics,” the pilot said, according to the preliminary report. He radioed the traffic controller that the plane’s navigation systems weren’t working and that the aircraft was “barely controllable.”
The controller was sending the plane radar directions to the airport when voice communications were lost. About two minutes later, the controller told the pilot to go back around the runway because the plane’s main landing gear was not extended.
After beginning another approach, the preliminary report said, the pilot attempted to land with only the plane’s nose landing gear extended.
Witnesses said the plane bounced several times on the runway before it climbed into a right turn, then nose-dived into three homes in a nearby neighborhood.
NTSB statistics show nearly 200 planes crashed into residential areas during a five-year period beginning in 2003. But since 2008, the agency has not distinguished between crashes involving homes and those involving other buildings.
Some crashes into homes have proven deadly. A regional airliner crash into a home near Buffalo, N.Y., in February 2009 killed 50 people. In January, three people were killed when their plane crashed into a Palm Coast in Florida while trying for an emergency landing at a nearby airport. No one on the ground was seriously injured.