NTSB: Plane nearly vertical with ground before Chicago-area crash that killed 3 Kansas doctors

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TOPEKA, Kansas — A small plane that crashed in suburban Chicago, killing three Kansas physicians, was nearly vertical with the ground when it came down in a field shortly after takeoff, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary report.

The twin-engine Beechcraft Barone crashed Oct. 12 in in Palos Hills, Illinois, soon after taking off from Chicago's Midway's International Airport. The plane was heading to Lawrence, Kansas.

Weather conditions at the time included mist and overcast skies, but the preliminary report doesn't say if those contributed to the crash, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1wfq2Bk ).

Those killed were Tausif Rehman, a neurosurgeon, and pulmonologist Ali A. Kanchwala, who worked for Topeka-based Stormont-Vail HealthCare. The third fatality was Kanchwala's wife, Maria Javaid, a cardiologist at the Providence Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas.

The report says Rehman was flying the plane, which rose 2,200 feet after taking off before turning and descending to 1,500 feet. It climbed again and turned left "for about 360 degrees," before radio contact was lost about five minutes after the plane took off. An NTSB investigator said shortly after the crash that the pilot did not make a distress call.

The plane crashed in the only vacant lot in a neighborhood of single-family homes about 20 miles southwest of downtown Chicago. About 50-60 people live on the street and a couple of hundred people live in apartments a block away.

"The initial impact point was within a group of trees," the NTSB report states. "Broken limbs and the condition of the wreckage was consistent with a near vertical attitude at impact."

The entire plane was damaged, showing "severe crushing and fragmentation of all components," the report states.

Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com

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