Engine ‘didn’t seem healthy’ before Arundel plane crash

The plane carrying the owner and president of a construction company was flying low and its engine was not sounding well before crashing in Arundel, Maine on October 5, according to a preliminary NTSB report.

The pilot, Eldon Morrison, 81, of Yarmouth and passenger Paul Koziell, 55, of Scarborough, were killed on impact, according to York County Sheriff William King. Morrison is the founder and CEO of CPM Constructors and Koziell was its president.

They were returning from an early morning business trip to Almost Island.

Several witnesses told the NTSB they could not see the Beech A36 as it approached Biddeford Airport. According to the report, he was flying at 550 feet, or 750 feet below the minimum descent altitude for this segment of the approach, and had slowed to 58 knots groundspeed.

The report says the plane’s initial point of impact was a tree about 40 feet above the ground.

Arundel plane crash scene 10/5/22

Arundel plane crash scene 10/5/22 (WGME TV via Facebook)

A witness told the NTSB that he felt the ground shake when the plane crashed and that the engine noise was “not the normal rhythm of a piston engine…it would sputter and swell. would turn off”.

Another witness said he was inside his store when he heard it coming down very low.

“It didn’t sound good. It didn’t sputter, but it didn’t sound good. It was stable, but it didn’t sound healthy to me,” the witness said.

At the crash site, the cockpit, cabin, and almost the entire tailplane were consumed by post-crash fire. The tail section remained largely intact. The wings exhibited impact damage consistent with a collision with trees and terrain.

Continuity of the flight control cable was confirmed from the cockpit to the flight control surfaces by several breaks consistent with impact and thermal damage. The engine was separated from the airframe.

The preliminary report did not reveal the cause of the accident.

A visit was held Thursday for Koziell and Morrison in Portland.

Contact journalist Dan Alexander at [email protected] or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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