Early Report Shows Strong Winds During Arkansas Plane Crash

March 20, 2023

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — During last month’s deadly crash of a small plane near Little Rock, there were “changing/deteriorating weather conditions from the time of taxi, takeoff, and the accident,” according to a preliminary report Friday from the National Transportation Safety Board.

“A video surveillance camera at the 3M plant (near the crash) showed the airplane impact the ground in a right-wing-low, nose down attitude,” the agency’s investigation showed. “The video also showed heavy rain and blowing debris near the impact area.”

The twin-engine plane crashed Feb. 22 several miles south of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport and left five people dead. At the time of the crash, the airport reported wind speed at 19 knots (35 kilometers per hour) with gusts to 27 knots (50 kilometers per hour), according to the report.

“Just as the airplane went out of sight, the camera recorded a rising plume of smoke about 1-mile (1.6 kilometers) south of the departure end of runway 18,” according to the report. “Shortly after the plume of smoke, the camera appeared to shake from wind, and recorded blowing debris and heavy rain on the ramp where the camera was located.”

The flight was transporting Consulting Toxicology and Environmental Health emergency workers from Little Rock, Arkansas, to Columbus, Ohio, in response to an alloy plant explosion in Bedford, Ohio, that killed one worker and sent more than a dozen to the hospital. The airplane was owned and operated by the environmental consulting firm.

According to the report, “no pre-impact airframe anomalies were identified,” nor were any anomalies noted with the plane’s engines or propeller assemblies.

The report also notes the “airplane was about 300 pounds (136 kilograms) under its maximum gross takeoff weight at the time of takeoff.”

A final report is many months away.

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