YULEE, Fla. – The National Transportation Safety Board on Wednesday released its preliminary report into a small plane that crashed into the St. Marys River, killing a flight instructor and a student pilot.
The bodies of a 66-year-old flight instructor, identified by his wife David Cuttino, and an 18-year-old student pilot, identified by her father as Alexis George, were recovered from the wreckage. The crash happened on June 18.
The NTSB notes in its report that, according to the student pilot’s handbook, the flight was her fifth flight in the airplane that crashed, and that each flight was with the same instructor. The handbook states that she had also logged flight instruction in a separate airplane, which she had flown by herself.
The NTSB says the instructor had logged about 4,000 hours of total flight time.
Additionally, the NTSB says, witnesses reported the airplane descending near-vertically and that the engine was still running until impact with the water. The plane’s major structural components were accounted for in the wreckage.
It could take months before an official cause of the crash is determined.