The National Transportation Safety Board has issued its preliminary report on the March 13 ocean plane crash off Santa Monica in which former game show host Peter Tomarken and his wife were killed. The report does not assign a probable cause for the crash at this early stage, but it does describe a hole in the engine case and states that one of the engine’s connecting rods “was visible through the hole and portions of it and the connecting rod cap were fractured from the rod end.”The Board investigator examined the wreckage on March 15 along with three Federal Aviation Administration inspectors and representatives of Raytheon Aircraft Company (which built the single engine Beechcraft A36 airplane) and Teledyne Continental Motors (which manufactured the six cylinder IO-520-BA engine), all of which are parties to the NTSB investigation. Kristi Dunks of the NTSB Los Angeles area office in Gardena has been named investigator-in-charge.The preliminary report said that after the engine oil pan was removed, “investigators noted a hole in the bottom of the engine case, in alignment with the number 2 cylinder connecting rod above” and that this connecting rod “was still attached to the piston by the piston pin.” This was the cylinder on which the rod and rod cap “were fractured from the rod end” as noted above.Gordon Smith of the Board’s Gardena office told the Mirror that it could not be determined at this time how long a full investigation by the NTSB would take.
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