ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A plane that crashed in Lake Maitland, killing two people, had not been refueled before its final trip, according to an initial report released by the National Transportation Safety Board.
The report released on Wednesday said the Cessna 182E received 21.1 gallons of fuel before it left Oconee County Regional Airport in Clemson, South Carolina, on June 12. The plane had about four hours worth of fuel when it left for Orlando Executive Airport.
That flight took a little more than three hours but the pilot did not purchase more fuel before departing from Orlando Executive Airport to Massey Ranch Airpark in New Smyrna, documents show.
At 10:59 a.m., the pilot declared an emergency, saying that he was not getting fuel out of the plane's right tank. Air traffic controllers told him to go back to Orlando Executive Airport because it was the closest, but the pilot stopped responding after he was cleared for landing.
A boater who was on Lake Maitland told investigators that the plane's engine was sputtering "like it was running out of gas."
"He watched the airplane fly over the lake to the north, make a 180 degree turn back to the lake, and thought the pilot was trying to make a water landing. The witness was in the path of the airplane, so he started the boat motor and drove perpendicular to the airplane's path to stay out of the way," the report said.
The boater said the plane probably hit some trees because it took a nose dive straight into the water. By the time the boater got to the plane to try to help the two occupants -- Stanley Rampey, 67, and Raymond Dodd, 79 -- it was already sinking fast.
Authorities said they found the plane hours later at a depth of 20 feet. Two gallons of fuel were removed from each wing tank and the single auxiliary tank.
Click here to read the report in its entirety.
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