UPDATE: NTSB finds engine issues with plane that crashed into Mass. house
UPDATE: BOSTON (AP) - Federal investigators say the engine of a small plane that crashed into a Massachusetts home last month killing all three people on board had a breach in the crankcase, two puncture holes near a cylinder and a fractured oil sump.
The preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report released Tuesday also said the left rudder cable and the left aileron cable turnbuckle exhibited overload fractures. The report did not indicate whether the problems occurred pre- or post-crash and did not draw any conclusions on whether they contributed to the crash in Plainville on June 28.
Dr. Joseph Richard Kalister of Knoxville; his wife, Betty; and their teenage daughter, Nicole, died.
A family of four escaped unharmed from the home.
The pilot reported losing engine power minutes before the crash.
PREVIOUS STORY: An Athens doctor and his family were killed when their plane crashed into a Massachusetts home Sunday.
The family was traveling to Massachusetts for a college visit when the plane crashed.
Dr. Joseph Rick Kalister was piloting the plane. His wife and daughter were also on board.
After refueling in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Kalister radioed for help saying he lost engine control. The plane went down in Plainville, Massachusetts, a city about an hour southwest of Boston.
In air radio traffic you hear Dr. Rick Kalister telling control, his plane was losing engine power.
"We had a real bad vibrations. We're losing engines," he said.
On board with Kalister was his wife, Betty, and their daughter Nicole.
"We are devastated. We loved Betty, his wife. We grew up with his children. We knew all about his children and we knew about this trip ahead of time and we were excited for this trip," said Neal Johns.
Neal Johns worked with Dr. Kalister at the Starr Regional Hospital in Athens, where he was an ER Physician and Director for the past 14 years.
The Kalisters left Cleveland Sunday afternoon on their way to visit Northeastern University when the plane crashed into a Massachusetts home just before 6 o'clock Sunday evening.
Four people inside the home were able to escape the flames.
"Rick was fabulous. And I first want to say he's a great pilot. I've flown with him many, many times," said Johns.
Kalister was an experienced licensed pilot, who at one point, flew F-15s in the Air Force.
The NTSB confirms he was flying a Beechcraft A36 single engine plane, similar to the one pictured here.
"Based on the information I've received I know that he did every thing he could to save his family," said Johns.
"Rick was good guy. All of us out here really enjoyed our time with him," said Mark Fidler.
Fidler is Director of Operations at the Cleveland Jetport and knew Kalister as well.
He says he will always remember Rick for his positive attitude.
"We feel a real loss with his departure and we're saddened by that but I feel strong in my conviction that he wouldn't want us mopping around."
"He's left an imprint on our heart everywhere. He was not just a great doctor. He was a fabulous friend," said Johns.
According to Facebook, Rick's wife Betty worked at University Orthopaedic Surgeons in Knoxville.
Rick wore multiple hats as well. In addition to being a doctor and pilot he was a reserve deputy with the McMinn County Sheriff's Office.
The NTSB continues to investigate the crash.
Faculty from Nicole's school release the following statements:
"Nicole embodied the Admiral spirit engaging herself fully during her high school career. She was an excellent student and involved herself in many extracurricular activities. The Farragut family is devastated by this loss and asks for prayers." - Stephanie Thompson, Principal FHS
Quotes from teachers:
Michelle Brossett, teacher : "Nicole Kalister was not your ordinary student to have in class, but was a designer, photographer and writer on an ordinary day; she was an amazingly talented young girl. She shared her creativity through her designs and with a camera. Daily she walked into class with a cheery disposition and shared it with all those in class around her. Nicole was a student you could always count on, who was bigger than life and ready to share it with the world."
Morgan Rutherford, teacher: "Nicole was an incredibly bright young woman who was never afraid to be herself."
PREVIOUS STORY: Dr. Rick Kalister, the medical director of Starr Regional Medical Center's Athens facility, was killed when his plane crashed into a home Sunday in Plainville, MA, outside of Boston.
Also aboard the aircraft was Kalister's wife, Betty and daughter who also died in the crash.
The aircraft, a Beechcraft A36 single engine plane, had reportedly taken on additional fuel prior to the crash.
Witnesses tell our NBC affiliate, WHDH, that they heard sputtering and saw the plane smash into the house before bursting into flames.
"The engine was sputtering as I recall, but it wasn't gliding, so the engine was functioning. I'm assuming the pilot was in some type of distress," said Mike Brown, who witnessed the crash.
The pilot reportedly made a distress call from the plane minutes before the crash.
WHDH says the air traffic controller tried to get the pilot to land on Interstate 495, only a few miles away. The pilot tried, but couldn't. Instead, the plane crashed into the home. It broke into pieces and a fireball erupted. In the final communication, it appears the pilot knows what is about to happen.
Four people inside the home were able to safely escape the fire.
Starr Regional Medical Center issued the following statement Monday afternoon:
"The members of the Starr Regional Medical Center family are deeply saddened by the tragic deaths of Dr. Rick Kalister, his wife and daughter. He was an excellent doctor, an outstanding ER medical director and a respected, beloved member of our hospital team for the past 13 years. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the Kalister family during this very difficult time.
PREVIOUS STORY: Lancaster Online reports that the Beechcraft BE36 plane that crashed into a Massachusetts home Sunday is registered to Island Airways Inc. of Cleveland, TN according to the Federal Aviation Administration's registry.
Three people in the aircraft were killed, but the four people in the home were able to safely escape the blaze the came from the crash.
The plane left the Lancaster Airport about 4:12pm Sunday and crashed about 5:45pm Sunday.
Stay with Channel 3 and WRCBtv.com for more on this developing story.
PREVIOUS STORY: By M. ALEX JOHNSON and BECKY BRATU, NBC News
(NBC News) - Four people safely escaped after a small plane slammed into their house in Plainville, Massachusetts, but the three people in the plane were killed, state police said Sunday night.
The plane, a Beechcraft BE36 that had departed from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, crashed into the house about 5:45 p.m. ET, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board said.
Massachusetts State Police confirmed that all three people on the plane were killed. The NTSB said it has launched an investigation.
State police said that the house became engulfed in flames before it was extinguished after almost three hours. But somehow, all four people inside it were able to escape safely, firefighters told NBC station WHDH of Boston.
Mary O'Rourke, who lives next door, told NBC News she was sitting on her porch when "all of a sudden I saw this little plane crash into the back of my neighbors' house."
"It went right up in flames," O'Rourke said. "There was black smoke and ashes everywhere."
O'Rourke said two adults and two children, one a freshman in high school and the other a fourth grader, ran out of the home and appeared unharmed. They managed to rescue the family dog, but their three cats were missing.
"I was right on my porch," she said. "I got really scared. ... I was shaking."