NTSB: Plane climbed quickly before crashing off the Outer Banks, killing all on board_freckle removal birmingham

Richard Stradling·2 min read

The pilot of a plane that crashed off the Outer Banks this month, killing all eight people on board, did not report any problems before an air traffic controller lost contact, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The last the controller heard from the pilot was an acknowledgment that he needed to maintain an altitude of 1,900 feet as he approached Cape Lookout National Seashore at about 2 p.m. Feb. 13. The plane was about 200 feet too low, according to a preliminary NTSB report released late Friday.

Less than three minutes later, the controller tried to reach the pilot again, because the plane was now at 4,700 feet and “climbing quickly,” according to the report. A minute later, radar contact was lost with the plane, which crashed in about 60 feet of water three miles off shore.

“Throughout the communication with air traffic control, there was no distress calls or a declaration of emergency from the airplane,” according to the report.

The four-page NTSB report lays out the federal agency’s initial findings but does not make any conclusions about what might have caused the crash. A final report identifying a likely cause will take a year or more to complete.

The pilot was Ernest Durwood Rawls, 67, of Greenville, who was certified as a commercial pilot. He had taken off from Hyde County Airport near Englehard with seven passengers, including four high school students, after an annual youth duck-hunting trip.

The other adults were Rawls’ son, Jeffrey Worthington Rawls, 28, and Stephanie Ann McInnis Fulcher, 42, and her boyfriend, Douglas Hunter Parks, 45, both of Sea Level. Parks owned the plane, a single-engine Pilatus PC-12.

The teens were McInnis’ son, Jonathan Kole McInnis, 15, of Sea Level; Noah Lee Styron, 15, of Cedar Island; Michael Daily Shepard, 15, and Jacob Nolan Taylor, 16, both of Atlantic.

As the plane departed Hyde County, Rawls requested clearance to land at Michael J. Smith Field Airport in Beaufort. The air traffic controller told him he was nearing airspace that was restricted because of military activity and directed him to fly east, according to the NTSB. That heading took the plane out over the Atlantic Ocean.


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