NTSB: ‘Evidence of internal damage’ found inside engine of Plainville plane

Parts of a small plane that crashed into a Plainville house still sit on the ground at the crash site. (Photo: Chantee Lans / WPRI 12)

PLAINVILLE, Mass. (WPRI) — The slow, and painstaking process of removing the wreckage of a small plane that crashed into a Plainville home over the weekend began Tuesday.

A salvage crew arrived on Bridle Path, and began removing parts of the plane piece by piece. The NTSB said all of the plane’s parts should be removed by Tuesday night, with the remaining wreckage to be carted off site by Wednesday. The wreckage will eventually be taken to a salvage facility in Delaware.

Investigators have spent the last two days looking closely at the damage to the plane, the house and the ground to figure out exactly what happened.

During a briefing Tuesday, Air Safety Investigator Doug Brazy said they did find something wrong with the engine.

“We have found evidence of internal damage to the inside of the engine, but we do not yet know the extent or the cause of that damage,” Brazy said. “What we know is that there is a hole in the crank case of the engine. How that got there, what caused it, that’s the part we don’t know yet.”

The single-engine plane was on its way from Lancaster, Pennsylvania to Norwood, Massachusetts when the pilot, Dr. Rick Kalister of Tennessee, reported engine trouble. (Listen to exchange with air traffic control)

Kalister, along with his wife Betty and their daughter Nicole were killed when the plane crashed into the home. According to a family friend, the couple was taking Nicole to orientation at Northeastern University, where she was recently accepted.

Brazy said it is not clear how long the plane was in the air, but he revealed that the plane’s cruise speed was approximately 200 miles per hour.

Investigators said, as of August of last year, Kalister had accumulated 1,500 flight hours.

The reported engine loss is potentially a clue into what caused the crash that killed all three passengers. But, investigators are still searching for more clues.

“We haven’t found any instruments that capture data. It’s common for small instruments to retain information and non-volatile memory, but there are none installed in the airplane that we found yet,” Brazy said.

Brazy said that the plane was not equipped with a traditional recording device, nor was it required to be. At this time, it is unknown to the NTSB where each individual was sitting inside the plane at the time of the crash.

According to officials, a preliminary report should be available in about two weeks, with the full report taking up to at least a year.

While friends and family mourn the loss of the Kalister family, the Plainville community is rallying to support the Rice family.

The couple and their two children were in the home when the plane hit. They made it out alive, and are now looking for a new place to live.

“As soon as word hit that something had happened, people were posting on Facebook; we have a community resource page, a Plainville parents page,” said family friend Liz Brown. “To know that you’re alone, but you’re not alone at all. You have everybody around willing to drop everything to do whatever it takes for you.”

Many people have donated food, clothes, gift cards and money for the family. The neighborhood also started a GoFundMe page, which as of Tuesday afternoon had surpassed its goal of $10,000.

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