PHOENIX — One of four skydivers aboard a light plane that crashed into a suburban Phoenix home told investigators that he heard a loud noise before seeing damage to a wing that then became engulfed in flames, according to a preliminary report released Friday.
The National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report doesn’t say what caused the Saturday evening fire and crash. The pilot suffered burns but others involved escaped serious injury.
NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said investigators may issue another report with additional observations and details within about nine months. A final report with analysis of the probable cause is expected in 12 to 18 months, Holloway said.
The preliminary report said the plane was at its planned jump area and altitude above a Gilbert fair where they were to put on a pyrotechnic display when one skydiver “heard a loud noise and noticed damage to the airplane’s left wing,” the report said.
The skydivers jumped successfully from the airplane as the left wing became engulfed in flames, the preliminary report said.
The pilot radioed a distress call and then bailed out before the plane crashed in a residential area about a mile from the drop zone, the preliminary report said.
The couple in the home escaped without serious injury. The house was a total loss due to damage from the impact and subsequent fire.
The names of the skydivers have not been released, but the pilot has been identified as 31-year-old Ryan Kilgore.
Kilgore underwent surgery Tuesday at a hospital. His parents, Jan and Bill Kilgore of Spokane, Washington, told reporters that their son performed heroically aboard the stricken plane and was relieved to learn after the crash that nobody else was injured.