NTSB: Former mayor cleared to land plane before deadly crash

Man was a former mayor of Newburyport

Helicopter image courtesy NBC Boston

METHUEN, Mass. (AP) — A National Transportation Safety Board investigation has found that the air traffic control tower at a Massachusetts airport cleared a former mayor to land his small plane before it crashed into the roof of a Methuen condo building, killing him.

The agency’s preliminary report released Tuesday says 73-year-old Alan Lavender purchased 12 gallons of fuel around 12:45 p.m. on Feb. 28 and took off about 10 minutes later. The report says air traffic control at the Lawrence Municipal Airport cleared the plane to land, but Lavender never responded. He crashed shortly after 1 p.m.

The report says investigators found fire damage on the engine of the plane. Witnesses reported seeing flames aboard the plane before it crashed.

No building residents were injured.

Lavender was a former mayor of Newburyport.


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