NTSB releases preliminary report on deadly Lake Hamilton plane crash

One person was killed and another was injured in a plane crash that occurred late in June at Hamilton Lake, according to the preliminary investigation report released by the NTSB in Little Rock, Arkansas.

On June 26, a single-engine Cessna 177 aircraft crashed in a cove off Port-au-Prince Street on Lake Hamilton, resulting in the death of the pilot, who was later identified as 49-year-old Daniel Dale Jones from Kentucky, and serious injury to the passenger.

According to the report, a fresh interior had been fitted in the aircraft, and the passenger claimed to have just bought the plane and was flying it from Las Cruces International Airport in New Mexico to Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

The fuel gauges on the passenger’s right and left showed “3/4” and “empty” respectively, indicating that there was more fuel left on the right side after landing in Texas. On the afternoon of June 25th, the plane left the airport in New Mexico and headed towards an airport in Texas.

Prior to their departure from Sweetwater, the traveler additionally mentioned that the fuel tanks were completely filled. According to the airport manager in Sweetwater, the aircraft was fueled with 25.8 gallons of fuel from a self-service fuel pump, as stated in the report.

The pilot diverted the plane to Hot Springs Memorial Airport in Sweetwater, as the weather near De Queen in Sevier County was adverse.

According to the passenger, the pilot set the engine speed to 2,300 rpm during cruise flight and that when he attempted to lean the mixture, the engine would start ‘stumbling’ when the mixture control was pulled 1.5-to-2 inches aft of full rich.”


During the approach to Sevier County Airport’s runway, as the pilot engaged the carburetor heat, the passenger also mentioned hearing a noise resembling “metal grinding.” The pilot allegedly chose to abort the second approach and executed a landing without any noteworthy incidents.

According to the NTSB report, the following day, the pilot and traveler proceeded to Hot Springs after spending the night in De Queen. As per the traveler, the fuel gauges on the left and right indicated “1/4” and “empty” respectively.

According to the report, the pilot confirmed that there was sufficient fuel to reach the airport in Hot Springs and checked the fuel level in the tanks using a fuel stick. It is said that on the morning of June 26, the duo made an effort to refuel the aircraft but were unsuccessful in getting any fuel to come out of the self-service pump.

According to the report, the airport manager confirmed that the fuel pump functioned properly after the accident. Despite the pilot’s credit card being processed, the credit card transaction was cancelled, and no fuel was dispensed.

They would proceed straight toward the airport, and according to the passenger, the pilot mentioned over the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) that they were running low on fuel while approaching the Hot Springs airport. As per airport data, the flight then ascended and departed from the De Queen airport at an altitude between 6,000 and 6,500 feet.

The passenger said that the plane stalled and fell nose-down into the water while hitting it. As the plane approached runway 5 at the runway, the pilot was reportedly unable to restore power to the engine, which suffered a total loss.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has stated that investigations into accidents typically take 12 to 24 months to conclude.