NTSB releases preliminary report on Conway plane crash

Published: Aug. 3, 2013 at 5:38 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 15, 2013 at 7:18 PM EDT
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Photo Source: Harriet Pestey Rojas
Photo Source: Harriet Pestey Rojas
Photo Source: Harriet Pestey Rojas
Photo Source: Harriet Pestey Rojas
Photo Source: Harriet Pestey Rojas
Photo Source: Harriet Pestey Rojas

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report in their investigation into the cause of the fatal plane crash in Conway on August 3.

The small plane crashed near the Wood Creek Subdivision in Conway the Saturday afternoon, killing the pilot and both passengers, all Grand Strand residents, according to Scott Thompson, Assistant Chief with Horry County Fire and Rescue.

Horry County Deputy Coroner said the pilot was 39-year-old James Major from Conway. The passengers were 42-year-old Kenneth Piuma from Myrtle Beach and 16-year-old Donald Dale Becker from Conway.

Assistant Chief Thompson said the plane crashed on Dunn Shortcut Road beside where it intersects with Warm Springs Lane. A power pole was damaged when the plane went down, and Horry County Electric worked to restore power to over 200 customers who lost electricity after the crash.

Dunn Shortcut Road was closed, but reopened nearly 24 later. The Warm Springs Lane entrance to Woodcreek Subdivision remained closed through Monday for clean up.

NTSB and the FAA are conducting the investigation into the plane crash. Below is the information provided in the preliminary report:

NTSB Identification: ERA13FA348

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation

Accident occurred Saturday, August 03, 2013 in Conway, SC

Aircraft: BEECH D55, registration: N7641N

Injuries: 3 Fatal

On August 3, 2013, about 1250 eastern daylight time, a Beech D55, N7641N, owned and operated by a private individual, was destroyed by postimpact fire/explosion when it impacted a telephone pole and then terrain near Conway, South Carolina. The private pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The flight departed from Conway-Horry County Airport (HYW), Conway, South Carolina, about 1200. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight which was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to witnesses, they heard the airplane approaching from the southwest and noticed it was extremely low. The airplane then executed a steep right turn, leveled its wings, and begun to rock side to side. The airplane descended and its left wing impacted a telephone pole at an estimated height of 30 feet above ground level. The airplane then spun approximately 180 degrees and impacted terrain, exploding shortly after impact.

The accident site was located at the entrance of a residential neighborhood, about 2 miles to the north of the approach end of runway 22 at HYW. The wreckage was oriented about 305 degrees magnetic. All flight control surfaces were accounted for at the scene. A piece of the left wing spar and panel were found about 20 feet from the wreckage. Flight control continuity was confirmed for the elevator and rudder to the aft cabin area, but due to the postcrash fire continuity could not be confirmed for the ailerons. The right engine's propeller blades exhibited postcrash impact damage with minimal leading edge and rotational signature damage. Two of the left engine's propeller blades exhibited S-curve bending and tip curling. The third propeller blade was located about 190 feet north of the wreckage and exhibited S-curve bending.

A handheld GPS receiver, two smart phones, iPad mini, and a Garmin GTN 750, were recovered from the wreckage and forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory for data download. The two engines will be retained for further examination.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

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