AUBURN, Calif. — Engine failure appears to have been the cause of a deadly January plane crash in Auburn, Calif., according to the preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The crash happened on Jan. 24 about a mile north of the Auburn Municipal Airport. According to the NTSB report, the Stinson Vultee V-77 airplane took off from the Auburn airport at 9:45 a.m. The trip was registered as a personal flight and no flight plan was filed. 

Not long into the flight, the pilot made a distress call saying he had “lost his engine” and was going down into the trees, according to the NTSB report. At the same time, several witnesses on the ground reported hearing the airplane’s engine backfiring and stuttering before eventually giving out. The first calls about the crash came in around 10 a.m.

Read the full NTSB preliminary report at the bottom of this article.

Two men, 80-year-old Anthony Lawrence Wright Sr. and 55-year-old Anthony Lawrence Wright Jr., were killed in the crash and a third unidentified male passenger was seriously injured. All three men had piloting experience, according to the NTSB.

NTSB investigators say all major components of the plane were recovered at the accident site and taken to a secure location. The cause of the engine failure is still being investigated.

More on the Auburn plane crash from ABC10:

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