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Cause of plane crash unknown

Investigators say it could take months to know why plane went down on Fort Stewart

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POSTED: March 1, 2007 5:08 a.m.

Investigators are not sure what caused a Beech craft 36 private passenger plane to fall from the sky Friday night into a Fort Stewart training area, killing all 4 passengers on board.

"Were not going to speculate at the time what may have happened to the craft," said NTSB Air Safety Investigator, Eric Alleyne. "It may take six months to a year before we find out what caused the plane to crash."

Alleyne told reporters gathered at the crash site just off of Hwy 144 near a sniper training range, that about 6:16 p.m. the pilot, who has been identified as Richard Love III of Melbourne, Florida, requested an altitude decent from 13000 feet to 1100 feet.

"As the plane began descending to 12,900 ft it just fell off the radar. There was no distress calls made, said Alleyne, who estimated the wreckage was strewn in an area roughly one mile wide.

A firefighter who was part of the rescue team and declined to be identified said it looked as if the plane had just fallen about.

"There was no fire when it hit the ground," he said.

It took  Fort Stewart rescue units several hours to find the wreckage, which was located around midnight when a Coast Guard helicopter was called in to home in on the planes tracking device.

When rescue workers arrived, the victims were found in different locations of the area still strapped in their seats, according to authorities.

On Saturday afternoon, members of the media were allowed into the area and were shown a heavily damaged cockpit and engine in one area, a radar dome in another area.

Alleyne said the plane was not flying over restricted air space despite the fact units on the installation are involved in training for the upcoming deployment to Iraq.

The other passengers who died in the crash have been identified as Josh Manso, 28, Trevor Quinn, 29; and Mike Marasia, 34.

 

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