GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – The National Transportation Safety Board released their preliminary findings into the jet crash at Greenville Downtown Airport that took the lives of two pilots and seriously injured a couple.
According to the NTSB report, the plane took off from St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport with two pilots and two passengers on board.
The Dassault Falcon 50 business jet ran off the end of the runway at Greenville Downtown Airport before going down an embankment coming to rest in two pieces on Airport Road.
The pilots killed in the crash were identified as 49-year-old John Christian Caswell and 66-year-old Stephen George Fox.
The report details the final seconds of the plane after touching down on the runway:
Air traffic control personnel at GMU reported that the airplane touched down “normally” at a normal touchdown point on runway. They saw the airplane’s sole thrust reverser on the center (No. 2) engine deploy; the controllers then watched as the airplane “did not decelerate” as it continued down the runway. An airport security video captured the airplane’s touchdown and confirmed that the No. 2 thrust reverser and the airbrakes were deployed. The video also showed the airplane as it continued down to the end of the runway and then went over an embankment.
First responders reported that all three engines were operating at full power for at least 20 minutes after the accident with, one engine running until about 40 minutes after the accident.
Initial examination of the accident site, runway, and tire track evidence showed that the airplane departed the left edge of runway 19 near the departure end, traveled across the flat grassy area at the end of the runway, continued down a 50-foot embankment, and came to rest on the airport perimeter road about 425 feet from the runway. The wreckage was oriented on a heading of about 160°. There was no fire. Fuel was observed leaking from the wings at the accident site. The nose landing gear was separated and found about midway down the embankment. The fuselage was separated immediately aft of the cockpit area, near fuselage station 14. The slats and flaps were extended. Both the right and left airbrakes (spoilers) were extended. Both main landing gear were fractured at the trunnion and displaced aft into the flaps. The braking anti-skid switch was in the No. 1 position, and there was an “INOP” (inoperative) placard next to the switch, dated the day of the accident. The Nos. 2 and 3 firehandles were pulled. The parking brake was in the normal (off) position.
The report goes on to say that the pilot held a rating for a Falcon 50 with a limitation for second-in-command only. They also say that the co-pilot only held a private pilot license and did not hold an instrument rating.
The report does not make any determination as to why the plane ran off the runway and crashed.
A full report from the NTSB will be released at a later date.