The pilot of a small plane that plunged into a Plainville, Massachusetts, home Sunday, reported engine problems before the fatal crash, newly released audio communications show.
"We got real bad vibrations. We are losing engines," the pilot said to an air traffic control tower before requesting to make an emergency landing at the nearest airport.
The audio transmission released Monday details the final moments before the Beechcraft BE36, headed to Norwood Memorial Airport from Lancaster Airport in Pennsylvania, went down around 5:45 p.m., killing three people on board.
The control tower is heard suggesting two airports and a field where the pilot can make an emergency landing. Unfamiliar with the area and quickly loosing altitude, the pilot is then directed to land the plane on interstate 495.
"We have no engine. We're IMC. I need help," the pilot appeals.
Massachusetts State Police say two adults and a child were on board the plane that crashed into the two-story colonial on Bridle Path. The victims have been identified as Dr. Joseph Rick Kalister, his wife Betty, and their daughter, according to the director of Starr Regional Hospital Business Development.
"The interstate is the best thing I have at the moment," the air traffic controller said.
As the plane is guided to the highway, the pilot stops responding to calls from the tower before the aircraft disappears from the radar.
Homeowner Aaron Rice said his wife and two sons were on the second floor of the house when the aircraft plummeted through the roof.
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"We heard a loud bang. As some of our neighbors have said, we live close to a quarry, so you're use to explosions here and the house shaking," Rice told reporters outside the wreckage of his home. "But when I saw the fireball go down in the back of the house, we realized it was a little more serious than that."
Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board are on the scene investigating the cause of the crash. The transmission will be a key piece of evidence.
"I have to say that while we suffered great tragedy here today, with the death of the occupants of this plane, the miracle today is that four occupants of that home that was severely damaged by fire - a very rapidly spreading fire - were able to safely escape," Massachusetts Fire Marshal Stephen Coan said. "They lost a lot of personal possessions, but they're all safe tonight."