Metro-East News

NTSB says pilot error to blame in Gutzler family plane crash

From staff and wire reports

Marty Gutzler (from left), daughters Sailor and Piper Gutzler and Kimberly Gutzler.
Marty Gutzler (from left), daughters Sailor and Piper Gutzler and Kimberly Gutzler.

The National Transportation Safety Board says pilot error was to blame in a plane crash that killed four people from Southern Illinois in western Kentucky.

The NTSB released its final report Friday on the 2015 crash near Kuttawa, Ky.

The report says the pilot failed to properly set the left engine fuel selector, which led to fuel starvation and a loss of power to both engines.

The crash killed pilot Marty Gutzler; his wife, Kimberly; their daughter Piper; and her cousin, Sierra Wilder. The couple’s daughter Sailor, 7, survived the crash. The family was from Nashville.

After the crash, Sailor walked about a mile in near-freezing temperatures to seek help, ending up at the home of a 71-year-old man. As she walked for help through dark woods and sticker bushes, she wore only a T-shirt, shorts, one sock, and no shoes.

Marty Gutzler was flying the family back from a trip to Key West when the crash happened. The plane was a Piper PA-34.

Sailor’s ordeal received national attention, including coverage on “The Today Show.”

She later was placed under the legal guardianship of her adult half-sister.

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