Pilot in deadly Carroll County plane crash told traffic controller his plane was ‘out of control'

CARROLL COUNTY, Ind. -- The initial report from the National Transportation Safety Board gives some insight into what may have caused a small plane to go down in Carroll County last month, killing three people.

According to that report, the pilot may have lost control of the plane on several occasions before the Cessna 441 went down in a field near Carroll County Roads 500 West and 600 South, just north of Rossville.

The plane took off from Eagle Creek Airport in Indianapolis on February 22 around 7:21 p.m., according to flight records. It was headed to Green Bay-Austin Straubel International Airport in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The plane had flown from Green Bay to Indiana earlier that morning.

READ | Victims in Carroll County crash identified 

According to the preliminary report from NTSB, the pilot deviated from his assigned path shortly after takeoff. When the departure controller in Indianapolis questioned his course change the pilot told him that the plane was “out of control” before he was able to get it straight again.

The departure controller gave the pilot new flight instructions and shortly after climbing to 13,000 the pilot’s communication and radar contact was lost.

Witnesses told NTSB investigators that they could hear the plane flying overhead loudly before the impact. The plane left a debris path about ¼ of a mile wide.

The victims were identified as John Pagel, Steve Witcpalek, and pilot Nathan Saari. Witcpalek is Pagel's son-in-law. Pagel is the CEO of Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy, a farm in Kewaunee, Wisconsin. The plane was licensed to Ponderosa Dairy.

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