RIDGEFIELD, Conn. — The engine of a low-flying plane was sputtering before the crash that claimed the live of the two Ridgefield teenagers aboard last month near Colgate University, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary report released Friday .
The accident occurred Sunday, Sept. 20 in Morrisville, N.Y., near the campus, at about 12:50 p.m.
The pilot, 18-year-old Cathryn Depuy, was killed along with her only passenger, Ryan Adams, 18. Both of the Ridgefield teens were freshmen at Colgate University.
They had rented the Cessna for a pleasure flight out of the Hamilton Municipal Airport in Hamilton, N.Y., taking off at about 12:18 p.m., the owner of the plane told the NTBS.
About 20 minutes after takeoff, he heard Depuy announce on the common traffic advisory frequency that the flight was over Colgate University, the NTSB said.
That was the last communication the plane's owner heard from her, and there were no distress calls made by the pilot, the NTSB reported.
The plane experienced a loss of control in-flight and slammed into trees then terrain, the NTSB said. It was destroyed by the impact.
Witnesses about a mile northwest of the accident site reported seeing the airplane flying in a southeasterly direction, the NTSB said.
One witness described the airplane's altitude as "very low," the NTSB said, and the engine sounded as if it were "spitting and sputtering." While climbing to gain altitude, the engine sound ceased completely, the witness told the NTSB.
The airplane then began descending, and the engine sound restarted, followed by the airplane leveling off, the NTSB said. The airplane then began climbing again, and the engine sound ceased for a second time and did not restart. The airplane then pitched nose down and spiraled to the ground, the NTSB said.
The Cessna 150H, N22721, is registered to and operated by Bargabos Earthworks Inc.
The NTSB said the report is based on preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors.
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