Oil leak may have led to fatal plane crash

Thursday, August 31st 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

HILO, Hawaii (AP) An oil leak apparently led to an engine fire that caused a tour plane to crash last week in waters off Hawaii Island, killing an Oklahoma woman, a National Transportation Safety Board official said Monday.

"We found a source of what we believe was an oil leak in the area where the fire occurred," NTSB investigator Robert Crispin said.

The fire in the right engine of the twin-engine Piper Navajo Chieftain forced pilot Nick Damis to ditch the plane last Friday about 200 yards off Honoli`i Beach.

Eight of the nine people aboard the Big Island Air tour plane made it to safety.

The body of the ninth person, Laveta Rose Reynolds, 61, of Collinsville, Okla., was recovered Monday when the wreckage was raised from 85 feet of water. Her husband, James Reynolds, 64, was one of the survivors.

There are about 2,100 engines similar to the one that caught fire, Crispin said.

The NTSB and engine manufacturer Textron Lycoming will develop a maintenance procedure to help prevent such engine fires in the future, he said.