Report details of Missouri plane crash that killed 5

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A small plane was in working order before it crashed near a southwest Missouri airport last year, killing all five people onboard, and the pilot was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, according to a report from the National Transportation and Safety Board.

The factual report doesn’t discuss a possible cause of the crash on Sept. 15, 2012, about six miles from the Springfield-Branson National Airport that killed the pilot, John Lambert, 44, his three children, and Robin Melton, 46, of Ozark, as they were returning from a Kansas City Royals baseball game.

The NTSB generally releases a report disclosing the cause of an accident about six weeks after issuing the factual report, The Springfield News-Leader reported Friday (http://sgfnow.co/16LRfh9 ).

Lambert was cleared to land the single-engine 2002 Cirrus SR22 when he radioed that he needed to make a second approach. He acknowledged information from the Springfield air control tower then said “I need help” before the plane crashed in a field.

A witness reported hearing the plane’s engine surge with high power about four times, followed by what sounded like a high speed dive.

“She stated that she heard the initial impact followed by an explosion. She observed the glow of the post-impact fire from her bedroom window,” according to the NTSB.

“The entire airframe was fragmented” and significant portions “were consumed or damaged by a post-impact fire,” the report said. Investigators found the plane “did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a pre-impact failure or malfunction.”

Cirrus Vice President Bill King told the News-Leader last year that the plane had a safety parachute capable of landing the aircraft in an emergency. The NTSB said the parachute was intact after the accident.

Melton’s mother, Janis Melton, filed a lawsuit in June alleging the crash was caused by Lambert’s “negligence and carelessness.”

Melton was founder and president of Environmental Works Inc., an environmental consulting firm. Lambert owned Missouri Insulation & Supply Inc.

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