NTSB: Pilot in fatal crash reported engine trouble

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – A preliminary report shows that the pilot of a small plane flying over western Kentucky lost sight of the airport and reported the right engine had stopped shortly before the plane crashed and killed everyone aboard except a 7-year-old girl.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s report says air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane about 5:55 p.m. on Jan. 2, about five minutes after the pilot had asked for assistance because of engine problems. The pilot’s last contact with controllers was that he had lost sight of the airport.

The Piper PA-34 landed upside down with the landing gear retracted. The crash killed pilot Marty Gutzler; his wife, Kimberly; their daughter Piper; and her cousin, Sierra Wilder. The couple’s daughter Sailor survived the crash.