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Plane in crash faced bad weather

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By Staff and Wire ReportsINDIANAPOLIS — A preliminary federal report says the pilot of a small plane that crashed in southeastern Indiana, killing him and three passengers, was navigating solely by onboard instruments in foggy, misty conditions when his plane made its fatal

plunge into a field.

Wednesday’s report from the National Transportation Safety Board states that weather conditions were so poor at the time of the Dec. 2 crash that another pilot on a similar flight path diverted from the Greensburg airport and landed safely in Columbus.

According to the report, a detailed examination of the plane and its engine found no problems.

A witness told the safety board the plane descended out of the clouds with no changes in pitch or in engine sound before crashing into a plowed field. Visibility was obscured by fog and mist at the time of the crash, and the ceiling was estimated at 300 feet.

Witnesses told investigators pilot-activated runway lights were not illuminated when the single-engine Piper Malibu crashed about a mile from the Greensburg Municipal Airport.

The report said those runway lights were checked after the crash and were found to be working properly.

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