Spate of Beechcraft Premier Accidents Claims Nine

 - March 21, 2013, 3:25 PM

While NTSB investigators at South Bend (Ind.) Airport are probing the cause of the crash of a Hawker Beechcraft Premier during an approach on Sunday, they are also trying to determine whether there are any links between this accident and two other Premier crashes within a three-week period. Nine people have died in the three recent accidents involving Premiers.

A Premier I crashed on takeoff on March 4 in southern France, killing two, while another went down on February 20 during an attempt to land at Thomson-McDuffie County Airport west of Augusta, Ga., killing five. The most recent accident in South Bend claimed the lives of the two pilots when the aircraft struck two homes before embedding itself in a third. Two passengers aboard the aircraft survived with serious injuries.

An FAA spokesman said the pilot in the South Bend accident reported a mechanical issue of some kind shortly before the accident. A pilot witness said the aircraft made a number of attempts to land on Runway 9R before crashing into the homes.