Plane engine 'pinged' during takeoff prior to S.E. Iowa crash

Two Unionville, Missouri, residents survived the July 9, 2017, crash outside Corydon, Iowa. (MGN Online)

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its preliminary report on a southeast Iowa plane crash that seriously injured a northeast Missouri couple.

That crash happened on the afternoon of July 9, 2017, about a half-mile east of the Corydon, Iowa airport.

Pilot Craig Comstock of Unionville, Missouri, and his wife, Mary, survived the crash.

Mary suffered cuts and bruises and a broken wrist. She was released from a Des Moines hospital a few days after the crash.

Craig Comstock was more seriously hurt and required surgery. He was hospitalized for quite some time,

Federal investigators say the Comstock's single-engine plane impacted trees during an emergency descent shortly after takeoff.

Local authorities and witnesses told the NTSB that the Comstock's small plane left the Corydon airport after a local fly-in event.

Witnesses described the engine as "pinging or popping" during the takeoff roll.

The plane then took off from the grass runway, and witnesses lost sight of it.

One pilot became concerned the plane might have crashed based on the noises he heard during takeoff.

That pilot then went up in his plane to search for the Comstocks’ aircraft.

Searchers located the crashed plane a short time later. It was upright and wedged into trees about 10 feet off the ground.

The wreckage did not catch on fire.

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