Safety Board weighs in on 2011 plane crash that killed 3 in West Virginia

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The National Transportation Safety Board released its factual report Thursday from a 2011 plane crash that killed three Western Pennsylvanians returning from a golfing trip.

Flying his Piper airplane, pilot Michael F. Garrone, 52, and two passengers, Charles Armitage Jr., 52, and Laura Stettmier, 49, were headed from Danville, Va., to Johnstown when they crashed in the mountains on Oct. 2 near Peru, W.Va.

The day of the crash, Mr. Garrone had been advised by Lockheed Martin Flight Service that the route was not recommended due to precipitation, visibility issues and the possibility of icing, the report says.

While in flight, radar indicated that the plane began "a series of erratic maneuvers" and entered into a steep spiral dive, losing 700 feet in 12 seconds, the report said. The plane disappeared from radar, then stabilized and reappeared less than a minute later. The pilot then told a controller he was backtracking to Danville, and "I'm getting bounced around pretty good."

The plane then disappeared from radar and was found crashed days later.

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