SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Federal officials say a pilot's "inadequate response" to mechanical problems and his decision to allow an unqualified passenger to handle airplane controls caused a crash that killed two people and injured three more.
Pilot Wesley Caves, 58, and former University of Oklahoma quarterback Steve Davis, 60, died March 17, 2013, after their private jet crashed into homes near an airport in South Bend, Indiana.
The National Transportation Safety Board released its final report on the crash last Thursday. It states that Caves failed to adhere to procedures when both of the plane's engines shut down. The report also says that the engines' inadvertent shutdown was the direct result of Davis' manipulation of the plane controls.
At the time of the incident, the plane was on its way to South Bend Regional Airport after leaving Tulsa, Oklahoma. Federal records show the plane was registered to a company Caves owned.
Data retrieved from the cockpit voice recorder showed that Caves allowed Davis to fly the plane. Although Davis had pilot experience, he wasn't trained to fly the jet.
When the plane flew within 20 miles of the South Bend airport, Caves told Davis to reduce engine power, but Davis inadvertently shut down the engines.
Caves reported the emergency to the air traffic controller and attempted to land the plane twice. The report states that he likely wasn't able to land because he didn't "fully extend the handle to obtain a full landing gear deployment."
Witnesses said the plane bounced several times on the runway before it climbed into a right turn, then nose-dived into three homes in a nearby neighborhood.
Passengers Christopher Evans and Jim Rodgers survived the crash and have since filed a federal lawsuit against Beechcraft Corp. and Hawker Beechcraft Global Customer Support LLC seeking damages for negligence related to the crash. Caves' widow, Regina, has filed a separate suit against the companies. All three plaintiffs claim a defect in the jet's electrical system led to the crash.