Preliminary Report Expected in Weekend Plane Crash that Killed Six

JULY 31, 2006 - Posted at 8:21 a.m. CDT

SULLIVAN, MO - Investigators expect a preliminary report to be ready today on the weekend plane crash that killed six people on a skydiving trip in eastern Missouri.

Federal air safety investigator Ed Malinowski yesterday indicated engine failure might have caused Saturday's crash.  He says a witness saw the airplane's right engine burst into flames shortly after it took off from the Sullivan airport.

Malinowski says a final report on the crash won't be finished for at least six months.

Several witnesses told police it sounded like the plane had engine trouble soon after taking off Saturday.

Franklin County Sheriff Gary Toelke says the plane apparently struck a utility pole, then landed nose-first into a tree, less than ten feet from a house.  No one on the ground was hurt.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)