CENTENNIAL – The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report Tuesday morning detailing what could have caused a twin-engine Cessna 404 to crash into a residential area on Dec. 30, leaving the pilot dead.
The crash happened at around 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 30. The pilot and sole passenger in the aircraft, identified as 55-year-old Daniel Steitz, a former detective for the Aurora Police Department, was killed instantly. The plane was operated by Key Lime Air.
According to the preliminary report, Steitz was taking off from Centennial Airport and headed to Denver International Airport when he told air-traffic control that he had lost an engine and needed to turn around.
Witnesses told investigators that they saw the plane do a right turn as it descended toward the terrain. The NTSB preliminary report says other witnesses heard the plane and described the engine as rough-running.
When it crashed, the plane hit several trees, a fence and hedges in a residential area, according to the report. Portions of the right wing, right engine and propellers from the engine assemblies were found within the debris field, according to the NTSB. Both engines separated partially from the plane during impact, and were found immediately adjacent to the wreckage.
South Metro Fire says a nearby homeowner called 911 to report the crash. No one in the nearby home was hurt. The homeowner, Jim Siffring, told 9NEWS they were asleep when they heard a huge crash outside their home. He said their room "lit up like daylight."
According to the preliminary report, wind conditions the morning of the crash were calm, with seven miles of visibility and a temperature of -2 degrees Fahrenheit.
The information in the most recent NTSB report is preliminary and subject to change over the course of the investigation.
A full report may not be available for a few months.
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