HOPE MILLS, N.C. (WNCN) – A passenger grabbed the yoke of a plane and pulled back on the controls before the aircraft crashed near Hope Mills in February, according to a report by the NTSB.
On Feb. 17, a commercial pilot was going to take three people up in a Cessna 172M to orient them with general aviation, a preliminary accident report by the National Transportation Safety Board says.
The pilot, who was also a flight instructor, was seated in the right cockpit seat during takeoff around 1:50 p.m.
During takeoff, the passenger in the front left seat grabbed the yoke and pulled back, the report says.
The passenger did not let go of the controls despite the pilot calling for him to, the report says.
“The airplane pitched up to a near vertical position, stalled, and then collided with terrain adjacent to the runway,” the NTSB report says. The plane sustained “substantial” damage.
Witnesses said the plane’s engine ran normally throughout the event.
All four on board suffered serious injuries in the crash.
The three passengers were taking part in a Workforce Development program at Cape Fear Aviation, located at 7154 Butler Nursery Rd., at the time of the crash.
The plane’s four occupants were identified as:
- Jacob Parsons, 19, of Fayetteville
- Dominique Northcutt, 23, of Fayetteville
- Justin Elliot, 24, of Linden
- Vanessa Leal, 18, of Falcon
Joe Marsh, a chief for the Gray’s Creek Fire Department, said his grandson Jacob Parsons was the pilot.
Parsons was transported to UNC-Chapel Hill following the crash. He was listed in stable condition in the days following.
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