NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Investigators say the plane involved in a fatal crash in New Orleans East appeared to have engine problems before it crashed Friday afternoon (Aug. 16), according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
The investigation is still underway, but an NTSB news release reported the pilot -- Franklin J.P. Augustus -- radioed back to the controller at the Lake Front Airport, shortly after takeoff. Augustus said he was having “problems,” NTSB said, but did not go into details. The controller gave Augustus permission to return to the airport.
As the plane was turning back, a witnesses said it “pitched down" and crashed into the ground. According to the NTSB, witnesses said shortly after takeoff, the airplane appeared to have engine problems.
The plane caught fire when it crashed, and NTSB said much of the wreckage was consumed by the flames.
Neither Augustus or his passenger, FOX 8′s Nancy Parker, survived the crash.
A senior air safety investigator from Denver arrived in New Orleans Saturday to investigate the crash. NTSB said they will publish a preliminary report of their findings within the next few weeks, but do not anticipate having any analytical information or a determined cause. A probable cause report could take up to two years, NTSB said.
Anyone who witnessed the crash or has any relevant information is asked to contact investigators at firstname.lastname@example.org.