MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) - The pilot of a South Florida based charter jet which crashed into an empty apartment building in northern Ohio did not send out a distress call before he went down.
The crash Tuesday afternoon in Akron, about two miles from the small airport where the plane was to land, killed two executives and five employees at Pebb Enterprises, a Boca Raton-based company that specializes in shopping centers. The two pilots also were killed.
According to National Transportation Safety Board investigators another pilot, who had just landed at the small airport, reported hearing no distress calls despite being on the same communications frequency as the aircraft that went down. Federal investigators said the small airport doesn't have a control tower with which the plane might have communicated.
Investigators have surveillance video from a nearby construction company that shows the plane coming in along treetops, banking to the left, crashing and exploding into flames and a cloud of black smoke. The left wing hit the ground first before the plane crashed into the apartment house, Bella Dinh-Zarr, vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.
NTSB investigators are analyzing that video and the plane's voice recorder, along with reviewing weather conditions and the plane's maintenance records, for any clues as to what may have led to the crash.
A statement posted on Pebb's website said its staff was heartbroken to learn two principals and five employees had died in the crash. They were on the second day of a multicity Midwestern trip to look at property for potential shopping centers.
Relatives at the crash scene said the dead included 50-year-old Diane Smoot, who worked at Pebb Enterprises. In addition to Smoot, authorities have identified seven of the others who died as Diana Suriel, Ori Rom, Nick Weaver, Gary Shapiro, Thomas Virgin, Jared Weiner and Andres Chavez, who was one of the pilots, according to the ABC affiliate in Cleveland, Ohio. The name of the second pilot has not been released.
The chartered plane left Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Monday and stopped in St. Paul, Minnesota; Moline, Illinois; and St. Louis before arriving in Cincinnati, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware.
The plane departed from Cincinnati on Tuesday morning and stopped in Dayton before crashing on its approach to Akron Fulton International just before 3 p.m.
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