Federal investigators believe they’ve determined what led to a plane crash that killed 7 prominent local figures in April 2015.
The National Transportation Safety Board says pilot fatigue, the pilot’s failure to control the airplane during a late-night landing in dense fog, and too much weight may have caused the crash.
It happened near Central Illinois Regional Airport as the seven were returning from the men’s college basketball national championship game in Indianapolis.
The crash killed Illinois State University Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Torrey Ward, Assistant Athletic Director Aaron Leetch, Pub II owner Terry Stralow, local businessmen Andy Butler, Scott Bittner, and Jason Jones, as well as the pilot, Tom Hileman.
The NTSB ruled that Hileman didn’t maintain control of the plane during its instrument approach, and the glidescope antenna cable was inadequately connected or secured. That means Hileman couldn’t tell if the plane was descending at a proper angle.
Hileman’s widow, Ami, filed a lawsuit in Cook County earlier this year, seeking financial damages from five companies for alleged negligence and breach of warranties. The suit claimed the plane’s left engine and turbo charger caused the accident.