CAPTIVA, Fla.- The National Trasportation Safety Board has released its preliminary investigation report into the deadly of a small plane off of Upper Captiva.
Pilot Gregg Howard, 62, drowned after his 1999 Piper Saratoga hit the water near the Salty Approach Airport, on July 16. The pilot took off 10 minutes earlier from Page Airport in Fort Myers.
NTSB officials said that even though weather is not mentioned in the report, it is not ruled out as a cause of the crash. Spokesman Terry Williams said the agency is considering several factors which may have contributed to the crash, including Howard's cargo.
Howard's plane was found submerged in the Gulf of Mexico with a cargo load of porcelain tile. The NTSB report states that divers recovered 666 pounds of the tile, which was stacked on wood pallets. The report states that Howard had removed the passenger seats in the plane to allow for the shipment of home-improvement supplies.
Williams says the NTSB is still in its preliminary phase of determining the cause of the crash and it has not made any conclusions up to this point.