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NTSB: King Air in fatal Long Beach crash was above its maximum takeoff weight


Five people died in March 2011 when a Beechcraft King Air bound for Utah crashed seconds after takeoff from Long Beach, Calif. While the National Transportation Safety Board hasn’t released its final report yet, hundreds of pages of investigation documents made public this week indicate that the plane was more than 650 pounds over its maximum gross takeoff weight and that its fuel tanks may not have been properly drained to check for water. Witnesses to the crash recalled hearing two pops as the plane lifted off; seconds later, it rolled to one side and dived into the ground. Only one person survived the crash. One of the crash’s witnesses was the maintenance director who often worked on the aircraft; he said that in the past, the pilot had not properly drained the King Air’s fuel sumps to check for water. Winds were light at the time of the crash, with an 800-foot overcast ceiling; the plane had not been airborne long enough to climb into the clouds.