Deadly South Bend plane crash caused by pilot error, new NTSB report says

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A newly released report from the National Transportation Safety Board says pilot error is to blame for a plane crash that killed two people and injured three others in South Bend in March 2013.

A small jet crashed into homes on Iowa Street on March 17, 2013, after trying to make an emergency landing at the South Bend International Airport. Pilot Wes Caves and co-pilot Steve Davis, both of Oklahoma, died in the crash. Two passengers and a resident of one of the homes hit by the plane were injured. Two houses were destroyed.

In the report, the NTSB said Caves allowed Davis to operate controls in the cockpit under his direction, and at some point Davis caused both of the jet’s engines to shut down. 

Caves tried to restart the engine once but it failed and he signaled to air traffic control that he was in an emergency. Eventually, Caves was able to restart the left engine while attempting to make an emergency landing. However, the pilot wasn’t able to fully extend the landing gear, the report stated.

The nose landing gear was extended the second time the plane attempted an emergency landing and the plane bounced several times on the runway before it crashed into the Iowa Street homes.

The report said that NTSB investigators found no evidence of faulty equipment that would have caused the crash.

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