Witness heard sputtering on Ontario family’s plane before Nashville crash: report

Nashville, Tennessee –

A preliminary report by U.S. authorities investigating a plane crash in Tennessee that killed an Ontario family of five said a witness heard “sputtering” and “popping” sounds from the plane’s engine moments before it crashed next to a highway west of downtown Nashville.

Friday’s report from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board described how pilot Victor Dotsenko of King Township, Ont., told a controller at Nashville International Airport in a “weak transmission” that his engine was stalling. had turned off.

“I’m going to land, I don’t know where,” Dotsenko said, according to the report.

The controller declared an emergency and authorized Dotsenko to land the plane carrying his wife and three children on the runway.

But the pilot, in his last message to the controller, said he was too far away to make it.

The report found video recordings showing the plane descending over a residential neighborhood and passing over the interstate before crashing and bursting into flames.

Several witnesses reported hearing what sounded like “engine problems” with the plane as it passed overhead before the crash on March 4, according to the report.

Communities in and around King Township, about 50 kilometers north of Toronto, were devastated by the deaths of Dotsenko, 43, his wife Rimma, 39, and their three sons, David, 12, Adam , 10, and Emma, ​​seven years old.

Rabbi Chaim Hildeshaim of the Chabad Russian Center of Thornhill Woods previously told The Canadian Press that he had known the family for more than a decade, officiating at the couple’s 2009 wedding and performing naming ceremonies for each of their children.

“They had a beautiful relationship between the two of them. I witnessed that on many different occasions,” he said in a telephone interview.

“They were very, very devoted parents. And they did everything they could to educate the children, to give them the best education… and to have them have a good time at the same time.”

Neighbors mourned the loss of a family they described as lovely, while officials at the private school the children attended called them “the sweetest kids you’ll ever meet.”

The single-engine plane carrying the Dotsenkos was supposed to land at Nashville’s John C Tune Airport on the third leg of its journey from Brampton, Ont. It stopped twice and refueled at Erie International Airport in Pennsylvania and Mount Sterling Airport in Kentucky.

The plane departed for its third flight of the day around 7:15, the report said, noting that “the pilot did not report any concerns or irregularities to air traffic control.”

But the plane did not land at the airport as planned, but instead flew over the facility for “unknown reasons,” according to the report.

Because the plane was in Nashville International Airport airspace at that altitude, it was a controller at that airport who remained in contact with the pilot.

The accident occurred at 7:43 p.m. Central Standard Time, according to the report.

The preliminary report found that the plane’s left fuel tank suffered a rupture during the crash and a large fire engulfed the plane after impact, largely consuming the left wing and fuselage.

The report describes in detail the damage suffered by the plane, noting that the engine was relatively intact despite damage caused by impact and heat exposure.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 23, 2024.

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