Weather a Focus in Akron, Ohio, Plane Crash That Killed Nine

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Federal investigators said Wednesday they have recovered the voice recorder from a small jet that crashed Tuesday in Akron, Ohio, killing all nine people aboard, and will be taking a particular look at weather conditions.

The plane, a twin-engine Hawker 125-7A operated by ExecuFlight Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, crashed into a four-unit apartment building Tuesday afternoon. Seven employees of Pebb Enterprises, a Boca Raton, Florida, real estate developer, died along with two crew members.

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Jim Silliman, the investigator in charge of the incident for the National Transportation Safety Board, told reporters Wednesday that it appeared the pilot made no distress call before the jet veered left on its first approach to Akron Fulton International Airport, clipped power lines and plunged into the apartments.

The airport doesn't have towers to communicate with, but the pilot of a plane that landed just before the Hawker was on the same radio frequency and told investigators no indication of distress was transmitted, Silliman said.

Silliman and NTSB Vice Chairwoman Bella Dinh-Zarr were unable to provide much detail Wednesday, saying the investigative team's first full day on scene would be Thursday.

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But Silliman specified that weather would be a focus. Conditions in the Akron area Tuesday afternoon area were gray and drizzly, with low visibility and fog.

Quincy Vagell, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel, said that "outside of a controlled runway landing, getting a plane down safely in an emergency would have been a very tough task."