NTSB report confirms plane ran out of gas

A preliminary review of the plane crash that killed three people in Riverwoods on Nov. 28 confirms early reports that the plane ran out of gas before crashing about three miles from the airport.

The Piper PA-31 medical flight was fueled in Jesup, Ga., and headed for Chicago Executive Airport but crashed in a heavily wooded area near a home just before 11 p.m. with the airport in sight.

The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary review Wednesday, which stated the pilot declared an emergency saying he was out of fuel.

The pilot told an air traffic controller the airplane was “coasting” and said he could not see the air field, according to the report.

The pilot then reported that the airport was in sight as the dispatcher advised of a low altitude alert shortly before the crash.

An on-site inspection of the wreckage found the plane’s landing-gear in the up position and approximately 1.5 ounces of aviation gas in the plane’s fuel system, according to the report.

Tests of the plane’s engine and mechanical parts found all parts to be in working order.

Killed in the crash were pilot William Didier, 58, of Cedar Grove, Wis., and passengers John W. Bialek, 80, and his wife, Ilomae L. Bialek, 75, both of Streamwood.

Authorities said the plane was transporting John Bialek for medical reasons.

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