Pilot's Last Words before Fatal Crash Help Investigation

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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va -- Brian Forrest Hall reached out for help right before he crashed his plane on Sunday morning.

"He contacted air traffic control and the pilot stated that he had lost his engine," said Brian Rayner with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

“I lost my engine,” were Hall's last words on the air. Rayner said they are trying to figure out what those words meant.

“Then minutes later, the airplane was lost from radar," said Rayner.

The 50-year-old man from Pittsburgh crashed in the George Washington National Forest around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. He was supposed to stop in Harrisonburg before heading to Pennsylvania.

Right now, the NTSB is picking up the pieces to find out the cause of the accident.

“My focus right now is on the perishable evidence, which is the airplane behind me.”

The plane is a 1975 single engine Beechcraft, but Rayner said if a plane is well-maintained, age will not affect the plane's reliability.

“A 1975 Beechcraft could be as good or potentially better than it was when it rolled off the assembly line.”

That is why they will look into the maintenance and pilot records.

Rayner said they have seen accidents like this in this part of the country before but each one is different.

"When we come out to these investigations. We investigate them one at a time. We are not interested in looking at trends until we're well into it."

Investigators say they will work with the plane manufacturers to find out if the plane was faulty. They should know more once the preliminary report is released next week.

Rayner said the entire investigation could last up to a year.

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