LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. — The pilot of the plane that took a crashed into Lake Murray earlier this month reported a problem with his oil pressure shortly before the aircraft went down, an initial report finds.
The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary accident report Tuesday about the crash that took place on January 13. The small plane, known as a Cirrus SR-22, crashed in the Gilbert area of the county near Taylor Coves Road and was holding a pilot and one other passenger.
After the crash, the plane was examined by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.
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In the aviation accident preliminary report, the pilot of the small aircraft stated that the plane had undergone a preflight inspection where nothing out of the ordinary was bought to his attention. The pilot then checked the oil quantity and proceeded to add one quart of oil to the aircraft before taking flight.
The plane was about 20 minutes into its flight from Greenville Downtown Airport to Charleston International Airport when the pilot reported seeing a red oil annunciator light come on, followed by the oil pressure gauge falling to zero pressure, according to the report. At that point, the plane was at an altitude of 5,550 feet.
The report says the pilot reduced the plane's throttle to slow down the engine after he realized that the engine tachometer was near the red line and that the engine sounded like it was over-speeding.
According to the NTSB, the pilot told officials that he reported the emergency to air traffic control and then started looking for a place to land. When he was over the middle of Lake Murray, he deployed the plane's parachute once he was at 2,000 feet in the air and closer to the shoreline.
Once the wind started to push the aircraft away further into the lake, the pilot and passenger were able to jump from the airplane's wing and swim to the shoreline.
A Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed substantial damage to the fuselage and left elevator, in a post-accident examination of the airplane. They were also able to find that the engine had a hole on the top of the case near the No. 6 cylinder.
The remains have been kept by officials for further examination.
A final report on the crash is expected to take several months.