NTSB releases preliminary report on plane crash that killed Case students

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WILLOUGHBY HILLS, Ohio -- The preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board described the communication between the pilot and controller just moments before a plane crash that killed four Case Western Reserve University students.

The accident happened in Willoughby Hills on Monday, Aug. 25 around 10 p.m.

Killed in the crash were Lucas Marelli, 20, of Massillon; Abraham Pishevar, 18, of Maryland; John Hill, 18, of Georgia; and pilot William Felten, 19, of Michigan.

The group was planning to take a short trip to do some sightseeing.

The preliminary report was released Tuesday.  It stated at 9:46 p.m., Felten called ground control for taxi clearance.

The controller responded with instructions.  Felten then asked the controller to repeat the clearance, saying his radio was a little "fuzzy."

The controller again gave the clearance, and Felten repeated it back.

The NTSB preliminary report said about four minutes later, the controller informed the pilot he was taxiing to the wrong runway.

The pilot asked the controller to repeat what he said.  Felten then stated, "Thank you, I'm sorry," according to the report.

At 9:58 p.m., Felten radioed that the plane was not climbing fast enough and wanted to turn around.  The controller approved a left turn.

That's when the Cessna 172 went down.

The report also revealed the plane had been reserved at 8:22 p.m. the night of the crash using an online system.  It was to be rented from T&G Flying Club for four hours, beginning at 8:30 p.m.

Employees from the flying club were gone for the evening by the time the pilot and passengers arrived.

A witness said one of the men had a carry-on type of suitcase that was taken on the plane as well.

The plane crashed just north of the intersection of Bishop Road and Curtiss Wright Parkway, about 1,000 feet away from the runway at Cuyahoga County Regional Airport.

It was the first day of school for the college students.

A final report from the NTSB could take many months to be completed.

Click here for more on the Case Western Reserve University students involved in the plan crash.

The NTSB's entire preliminary report is available here.

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