The NTSB has released its early findings on the possible cause of the August 27th plane crash in Las Cruces that killed four, including a man coming to Phoenix for cancer treatment. The preliminary report, released on September 8, points to improper fuel as the primary culprit.
The report states that the Cessna 421C, a multiengine piston-driven aircraft, arrived at Las Cruces International Airport from El Paso to pick up a patient, Fredrick Green, for medical transport to Phoenix as well as take on 40 gallons of fuel. Post-crash interviews and a review of the fueling records show that the plane had been fueled with Jet-A instead of the required 100LL.
Upon arrival, pilot Freddy Martinez called for fuel, and remained onboard while a line service technician arrived to fuel the aircraft. Martinez verbally confirmed the order for 40 gallons of fuel, and later emerged to assist the fueler with closing the fuel caps. Both then went into the fuel office, where Martinez signed the printed fuel receipt.
The plane departed shortly after, and one of the three crewmembers immediately called their dispatcher to relay that the flight was returning to the field due to a problem. The crewmember reported smoke coming from the number 2 (right) engine, and witnesses that were on the ground reported seeing the same. Soon after, the plane entered a descending left bank and crashed, killing its flight crew (Martinez, Taurean Summers, and Monica Chavez) and Mr. Green.
The Arizona aviation accident attorneys at Curry, Pearson & Wooten send their condolences to the family and friends of the victims of this terrible accident.