Report: Plane changed course before deadly Illinois crash

In this Tuesday, April 7, 2015 photo, firefighters sift through the wreckage of a Cessna 414 twin-engine aircraft that crashed early Tuesday near Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington, Ill., killing all seven people on board. The plane was returning from the NCAA national championship game in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/The Pantagraph, David Proeber)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — A preliminary report on the airplane crash that killed seven people near Bloomington confirms the pilot unexpectedly changed course as he approached the airport.

Wednesday’s National Transportation Safety Board report on the April 7 crash doesn’t indicate why pilot Thomas Hileman flew higher and turned as he neared the runway. As an investigator indicated last week, the pilot showed no signs of distress in radio transmissions.

The plane was returning from the NCAA basketball championship in Indianapolis. Those killed included Hileman, Illinois State University assistant basketball coach Torrey Ward and athletic administrator Aaron Leetch.

The report indicates the plane was descending just after midnight in fog when it turned east before crashing in a nearby farm field.

The investigation continues and the final report could 12 to 18 months.

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