The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released footage of the wreckage from Tuesday's plane crash in an Akron, Ohio, neighborhood and said that it is reviewing footage of seconds leading up to the fatal accident, according to reports late Wednesday. The agency will also give a first update of investigation into the crash, where the plane slammed into an empty apartment building, killing seven passengers and two crew members on board.
The plane was about to land at the Akron Fulton Airport when it crashed about 2 miles from the runway. The security camera footage showed the 10-passenger plane, a Hawker twin-engine operated by Florida-based ExecuFlight, flying very low and banked to the left, descending. The left wing to the plane touched the ground as the plane moved to slam into the apartment building, NTSB Vice Chairman Bella Dinh-Zarr said, according to CNN. The plane reportedly cut power lines as it crashed into the building, following which there was a massive fire.
Officials had said, according to Cleveland.com, a local news website, that they will not release the identities of those deceased. However, a report by ABC News said that seven of those on board were from the same Florida-based real estate firm Pebb Enterprises. The company reportedly rented the plane and a report by Newsnet5, a local ABC affiliate, said that seven of the crash victims were identified.
"We are shocked and deeply saddened for the families, colleagues and friends of those who perished," the company reportedly said in a statement Wednesday, adding: "Our first priority is to give our fullest support to the family members and loved ones of our co-workers."
The Cleveland.com report also cited Summit County Medical Examiner Lisa Kohler to say that her team of forensic pathologists and 22 forensic anthropologists were at the scene. The cause of the plane crash has not yet been determined but a federal source reportedly told ABC News on Tuesday that the reason of the crash "appears to be mechanical." According to another report, the NTSB said that no distress call was reported from plane.
ExecuFlight President Augusto "Danny" Lewkowicz said, according to CNN, that he was “perplexed” about the accident and was crestfallen about the loss of the two crew members, who had reportedly been working at his company for about a year. He also added that the plane was well-maintained and the crew experienced.
“We’re completely at a loss for words," Lewkowicz said, according to Newsnet5, a local news network, adding: "We are very confident that they’re a very good crew and (it’s) a very good airplane. It’s just shocking to us as it is to anyone else.”
Jeannie Ferrera, whose younger sister was one of the employees who died in the crash, said, according to CNN: "I'm just in shock and in disbelief," adding: "And we just want to know what happened. ... We want some answers."
Scott Ferrell, who worked at an office a block away from the accident, said that he heard the crash but didn’t see it. He said that he could tell that something was wrong with the way he heard the engine cut out, fire up and cut out again. “I heard the explosion," Ferrell told WOIO, a local news network, adding: "(Then) there were power lives down everywhere. It was pretty chaotic (and) surreal."
Dinh-Zarr, also said, according to WJW, a local CNN affiliate, that there were low clouds and rain in the region. The cockpit voice recorder from the plane was sent for investigation to NTSB in Washington. People affected by the crash include who live at the building into which the plane crashed and two adjacent buildings. The Red Cross is currently arranging for food, clothing, hotel rooms and other assistance for the affected.
"I was just in shock, and I was crying and upset," Beth Montgomery said, according to Newsnet 5, referring to the crash and losing her home in the incident, adding: "I lost everything."