NTSB report: pilot disorientation led to crash

Picture of the crash that happened in 2011

The National Transportation Safety Board has concluded that the pilot's spatial disorientation during a missed approach to landing was the likely cause of a January 2011 plane crash at an RV park in North Myrtle Beach.

The crash killed pilot Kenneth Thode, 62, of Plymouth, Massachusetts and Eve Sullivan, 70, of New Hampshire, who was in an RV that the Cessna 172S hit when it came down. The crash seriously injured Sullivan's husband.

NTSB investigators say Thode reported to air traffic controllers at Grand Strand Airport in North Myrtle Beach that he had gotten himself "a little out of whack" and that he was "just trying to straighten it out" minutes before the crash.

An examination of the wreckage did not reveal any evidence of equipment failure, the NTSB report says. Toxicology tests and a review of medical records also showed no evidence that Thode was incapacitated at the time of the crash.

The report says overcast conditions and a light drizzle also had an effect on Thode's operation of the plane.

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