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NTSB: Small plane nearly vertical when it crashed in Palos Hills

(PALOS HILLS) A small plane that had just left Midway Airport was in a “near vertical” position when it slammed into the ground in a small grove of trees in southwest suburban Palos Hills.

That’s one of the findings from a National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report on the Oct. 12 crash of the private plane, which was bound for Kansas with three doctors on board.

Tausif-Ur Rehman, 34, a Topeka neurosurgeon, was in the pilot seat of the Beechcraft Model 58 when it went down about 10:40 p.m., killing him and two passengers, pulminologist Ali Kanchwala, 36, of Topeka; and Kanchwala’s wife, Maria Javaid, 37, a Kansas City cardiologist.

The plane was registered to ARC Aviation LLC and was on a personal flight, departing Midway at 10:35 p.m. en route to Lawrence Municipal Airport in Lawrence, Kan., the NTSB report said.

It was windy and overcast at the time of takeoff, and about five minutes later, the plane was “destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain,” the report said, though it did not say whether the conditions played a role in the crash.

The plane reached a preliminary altitude of about 2,200 feet, before making several turns, descending to about 1,500 feet, and entering “a left turn which continued for about 360 degrees before radar contact was lost,” the report said.

Final recorded altitude of the plane was about 2,000 feet, and no distress call was made, officials said at the time.

The crash occurred in one of the few vacant areas in a residential neighborhood about 6 nautical miles southwest of Midway, and “initial impact point was within a group of trees,” the report said.

“Broken limbs and the condition of the wreckage was consistent with a near vertical attitude at impact. The majority of the wreckage remained at the initial impact point while smaller pieces of wreckage were spread in a fan shaped pattern to the southeast,” according to the report.

“The entire airplane exhibited severe crushing and fragmentation of all components,” the report said, though it did say all components were recovered.

The report does make any conclusions as to the cause of the crash.

John Brannen, a senior air safety investigator for the NTSB, told the SouthtownStar a more detailed report and final determination the cause will not be released for months.

Wreckage from the plane, which crashed in the 10100 block of 86th Court, was moved last week for continued investigation to a storage area in Belvidere, near Rockford, Brannen said.