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Small plane that crashed in Hastings may have had wrong fuel

Both men on board were rushed to hospital with serious injuries

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HASTINGS, Fla. – A small plane that crashed in St. Johns County may have been running on the wrong fuel, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

The report states that investigators noted the spilled fuel "had an odor consistent with automotive fuel." The plane went down July 14 in Hastings.

The Piper PA22 took off from Earle Airpark, and the report shows it only got about 100 feet off the ground. An air park employee noticed the pilot needed nearly the entire 2,300-foot runway to get airborne and said the plane may have hit cornstalks as it climbed.

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The plane made a 180-degree turn back to the runway but hit trees and crashed into the creek, the report said.

The pilot had just gotten his certificate in May and had 105 hours of flying experience. Joseph Linebach, 62, and Thomas Linebach, 60, were rushed to the hospital with serious injuries.