UNAKA, N.C. (AP) - The pilot of a plane that took off from Atlanta's Fulton County Airport last month and crashed in the North Carolina mountains reported a fire on board and then never responded to questions from air traffic controllers.

A preliminary accident report released this week from the National Transportation Safety Board said the plane plunged several hundred feet after the pilot declared an emergency and disappeared from the controllers' radar screens.

Four people killed in the May 25 crash were identified as 27-year-old pilot Matthew Shuey of Nicholasville, Ky.; 23-year-old Tiffany Maggard, 22-year-old Kassie Robinson and 20-year-old Miranda Morgan.

The three friends from Knott County, Ky., had spent a week in Alabama and were flying back to Hazard, Ky.

Three witnesses told investigators the plane's engines started revving just before it crashed.

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