Flight expert gives insight into Western Kentucky plane crash

Flight expert gives insight into Western Kentucky plane crash

The National Transit Safety Board (NTSB) is now investigating a Western Kentucky plane crash that killed four family members, leaving a sole 7-year-old survivor.

A distress call was made by pilot Marty Gutzler from the Piper-Seneca twin engine aircraft just after 5:30 p.m. Friday to the Memphis Traffic Control Center according to Officer Brent White with the Kentucky State Police.

The plane was told to deviate from it's original flight path from Key West, Florida to Mt. Vernon, Illinois.

The plane crashed shortly after in a forest near the Kentucky Dam State Airport.

"I think the primary thing they would be concerned with at this point is the condition of the aircraft," Dr. Jose Ruiz with the Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC) Flight School said.

Ruiz has more than 20 years experience in flight safety. He's now the chair of the department of  Aviation Management and Flight at SIUC.

He explains that there are many factors the NTSB will consider during their investigation.

"I believe the weather, perhaps in concert with engine problems, perhaps is was feeling overwhelmed, could have led to some poor decision making," Ruiz said.

Weather conditions, visibility, mechanical failure, and split second decisions all could have played a role in this tragic crash.

"We have such sophisticated aircraft that we typically don't suffer catastrophic mechanical failure, however, if we do have issues with the aircraft coupled with poor decision making, it could result in this sort of tragedy," Ruiz said.

The NTSB announced that it will release preliminary results of the investigation in the next 10 days, but said it may take up to a year for the full investigation results.