CLEVELAND — The pilot of a small plane told a ground controller that he was not climbing fast enough and asked for permission to turn around just before his rented aircraft plummeted to the ground last week, killing all four college students aboard, a National Transportation Safety Board report said.
The controller said it appeared the pilot was trying to turn left when the plane struck the ground and smashed through a fence, according to the preliminary report. The report also said the 20-year-old pilot, William Felten, headed for the wrong runway at one point before takeoff.
Killed in the Aug. 25 crash were Felten, of Saginaw, Mich., and his three passengers: Lucas Marcelli, 20, of Massillon, Ohio; Abraham Pishevar, 18, of Rockville, Md; and John Hill, 18, of St. Simons, Ga. The four men planned a nighttime sightseeing trip after their first day of classes at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
Marcelli, Pishevar, and Hill belonged to the school’s wrestling team. Felten and Marcelli were second-year students. Hill and Pishevar were freshmen.