By The Associated Press
JACKSON — The National Transportation Safety Board says a plane was attempting to reach Tupelo Regional Airport because of low fuel when it crashed in Monroe County in February.
WTVA-TV reports that the NTSB’s preliminary findings also suggest that icy conditions contributed to the incident.
Gregory Huggins Jr., 49, of Memphis, Tenn., was injured when the plane crashed near the Cason community around 7 a.m. on Feb. 14. He was the only person on board.
Authorities said Huggins used his cell phone to guide searchers to the crash site.
The plane was registered to Buccaneer Aviation Inc., a Delaware corporation. Huggins was an instructor at Downtown Aviation, which gives flying lessons at the airport in Olive Branch, Miss., where he was headed after leaving Ocala, Fla.
The NTSB report says Huggins reported he had six hours of fuel to make the four-hour flight. The NTSB report says weather reports showed a possibility of icing between 3,000 and 10,000 feet the morning of the flight.
Investigators say during the flight, the plane’s engine began to run a little rough and Huggins increased the fuel mixture to correct the problem and descended to a lower altitude because of icing conditions.
Around 6:40 a.m., the report says Huggins contacted air traffic control to say he didn’t have enough fuel to reach Olive Branch and asked to be redirected to the Tupelo airport.
Investigators say Huggins was unable to maintain altitude and reported the fuel issue again at 6:50 a.m.
At 6:58, Huggins reported he had lost all engine power and air traffic controllers lost contact about 30 seconds later.