Today NTSB held their final press conference here in Lafayette after receiving new evidence.
NTSB started investigating the accident around 9 pm Saturday night trying to piece together what exactly caused this tragic accident.
The plane left the Lafayette airport at 9:20 and went down after a little more than a minute.
Two witnesses told NTSB investigators the plane was in a steep turn, it rolled at about wing’s level before it hit the trees and power lines near an apartment complex on Verot School Road. The plane then continued, hitting a U.S. Post Office’s parking lot and crashing into a field at 9:22 a.m.
The crash debris field stretched about one-quarter of a mile. NTSB investigators have combed the crash site, taking photos of the wreckage and collecting any material that can be taken to a lab for further assessment.
Monday they received surveillance video that is giving them a better idea of what it looked like in the sky.
Officials said the plane was on course until it reached 900 feet in the air. That’s when it took a sharp left turn and started to spiral. There was no distress call from the aircraft that NTSB knows of at this time.
During the official update, officials had stressed that nothing is being ruled out at this point. NTSB said the engines will be shipped back to the manufacturer where they will be torn apart by a specialist.
In part of their investigation so far they found four corners of the aircraft were identified in the crash debris, which indicates the aircraft was intact when it made contact with the ground.
NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said the flaps were up, which tells investigators the plane was not preparing to land.
Landsberg said they are looking at multiple areas of interest.
One of them is the weather.
“Visibility was about 3/4 of a mile, wind was 5 knots and the cloud base was about 200 feet,” said Jennifer Rodi, NTSB investigator-in-charge.
They are also looking at the weight and balance which could have affected the stability.
Fuel is another factor.
“We understand of aircraft was fueled after its previous flight and the thing that we will look at is the quality of the fuel contaminated in any way?”
Then they are also looking at the plane itself.
“We’ve looked at the maintenance records,” said Landsberg. “We’re doing a very thorough review at them at this point. The last maintenance performed on the aircraft was on October 16 of this year. The last flight on the airplane was December 18 so not too long ago 40 minutes it flew about 40 minutes from Houston area back to Lafayette.”
The remaining pieces of the plane including the engine will be brought into the investigation.
According to Landsberg they are looking at the pilot.
“The pilot is obviously a concern to us at this point,” said Landsberg. “We know from what he reported in his last medical exam that he had 1500 hours of flight time.”
NTSB also reports there was no cockpit voice recorder onboard the aircraft.
The preliminary report will be ready in about 2 weeks; the factual report about 12 months.
The final report could be ready within 12 to 18 months, assuming investigators are able to get the information they need.
NTSB officials say they are still looking for witnesses; if you saw the crash please contact investigators via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.