Wrong fuel caused plane crash that killed Tampa surgeon, NTSB says

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A plane crash that killed a well-known plastic surgeon from Tampa over the weekend was caused by the wrong kind of fuel being put in the plane, the National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday.

Dr. Daniel Greenwald was flying a Piper Aerostar 602P in central Indiana on Saturday when he crashed in a field. The 59-year-old died from blunt-force trauma in the crash, an Indiana coroner said.

According to a report released Thursday by the NTSB, the plane crash happened shortly after Greenwald left the Kokomo Municipal Airport. Greenwald flew into Indiana that morning from the Peter O Knight Airport in Tampa to provide training to a customer based at the Kokomo Airport.

NTSB officials say jet fuel was put into the plane Greenwald was flying instead of the regular aviation gasoline that should have been used. 8 On Your Side spoke with aviation expert, Captain John Cox, who tells us jet fuel would have caused the engine to quit.

According to the NTSB report, the airport employee who fueled the plane says he asked Greenwald twice if he wanted jet fuel. That employee claims Greenwald said “yes” both times. However, Greenwald was an experienced general aviation pilot with hundreds of hours of flight time experience who would have known the effect the jet fuel would have had on the plane’s engine. Captain Cox added that no pilot would ever say yes to putting jet fuel into that specific plane.

The airport employee told the NTSB he asked if he wanted jet fuel because “the airplane looked like a jet airplane,” the report says. Captain Cox tells 8 On Your Side the Piper Aerostar 602P may look like a jet to someone who doesn’t know better.

The airport employee told NTSB investigators he put about 163 gallons of Jet A fuel from a fuel truck. He says he heard the engines start up shortly after and claims they sounded “typical.”

Greenwald crashed just after 4:30 p.m., about 3.6 miles away from the airport, the report says.

“The examination revealed the presence of a clear liquid consistent in color and order with that of Jet A in a fuselage tank and in the fuel lines leading to the fuel manifolds of both engines,” the NTSB report states.

Investigators who examined the plane after the crash also say several engine spark plugs showed damage consistent with detonation, which shows the engine was not running normally.

Greenwald owned Bayshore Plastic Surgery on East Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa. He was known among his fellow physicians for tackling cosmetic surgery cases that others had deemed too difficult to perform, his staff told WFLA Sunday.

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