FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Reuters) - The aircraft piloted by Roy Halladay made a sharp dive before crashing into the Gulf of Mexico earlier this month, killing the retired baseball star, federal investigators said on Monday.
The National Transportation Safety Board in a preliminary report did not say definitively what caused the Nov. 7 crash or issue blame.
A witness told the NTSB he saw Halladay’s ICON A5 single-engine amphibious airplane perform a climb to between 300 and 500 feet (91 to 152 m) and then turn and descend on a nose-down dive of about 45 degrees before the plane hit the water, the report said.
The midday crash occurred on a day of calm winds and clear skies off Port New Richey, Florida, the report said. The plane crashed in 4.5 feet (1.4 m) of water.
Halladay, 40, the sole occupant of the plane, took off from a private lakeside home in Odessa, north of Tampa, the NTSB report said.
He had accepted delivery of the plane on Oct. 10, less than a month before the fatal crash, the NTSB said. It was the first 2018 model of the A5, ICON said in a statement last month.
Halladay became a certified pilot in 2013, the year he retired from Major League Baseball, and had logged about 700 hours in flight, including 14.5 hours in the plane that crashed, the NTSB’s preliminary report said.
During his career with the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies, he won two Cy Young Awards as best pitcher, was named to eight All-Star teams and won 203 regular-season games.
Reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Editing by Peter Cooney