Medical Flight That Crashed In New Mexico Was Filled With Jet Fuel
Federal safety investigators say an air ambulance that crashed, killing four people last month, got the wrong fuel when it filled up at a New Mexico airport.
The National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary report the twin-engine aircraft was refueled with 40 gallons of jet fuel instead of aviation gasoline at the Las Cruces airport on Aug. 27.
All three crew members and one patient were killed when the plane, which was headed to Phoenix, crashed. The NTSB report does not say whether getting the wrong fuel caused the crash.
It does say a crew member called the dispatcher to say the plane was returning to Las Cruces, because of smoke coming from the right engine.
The city of Las Cruces is refusing comment because it doesn’t operate the fueling service. Southwest Aviation Inc., which operates it, had no immediate comment.
The NTSB will issue a final report on the crash, later.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been modified to reflect the company that operates the fueling service is Southwest Aviation Inc.
Updated 9/9/2014 at 4:21 p.m.