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Details released in Publix plane crash

National Transportation Safety Board releases preliminary report

DeLAND, Fla. – The plane that crashed into a DeLand Publix last Monday had not been flown in three years and was purchased six weeks before the crash, according to the National Transportation Safety Board's preliminary report.

The report, released on Monday, gives more details into why and how the Seawind 3000 suddenly crashed into a Publix last Monday, and sheds light into what events happened leading up to the crash.

According to the report, the owner, Kim Presbrey, and pilot-rated passenger, Thomas Rhoades, flew from Aurora, Ill., to DeLand Municipal Airport on April 1 to begin training for a seaplane rating in Altamonte Springs on the morning of the accident. It's not clear who was piloting the plane when it crashed.

Presbrey originally intended to land in Sanford but was forced to land in DeLand after the airplane's transponder malfunctioned while en route, the report said. The plane was going to be fixed at a maintenance facility in Daytona Beach. The pilot told an employee at the facility that he purchased the plane six weeks earlier and it had not been flown for about three years.

FAA records also show the amphibious airplane was issued an experimental airworthiness certificate in July 2002 and was purchased by the private pilot during January 2012.

According to the report, the plane was departing from runway 23, a 4,301-foot-long asphalt runway. Witnesses at the airport said the airplane rotated while it was about 500 feet to the end of the runway, and began a shallow climb before "stalling." A witness at Publix said she heard two "sputtering" engine noises before the plane turned left and nosedived, according to the report.

The report said a fire in the cockpit after the crash destroyed the frame. Initial external examination of the engine did not reveal any catastrophic failures; however, the engine was retained for further examination.

The crash hurt three customers, along with the two pilots.