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Leslie plane crash victims identified

HAZARD — The National Transportation Safety Board says a twin-engine airplane that crashed Tuesday in Leslie County, killing both occupants, reported problems before it went down.

NTSB investigator Jose Obregon said Thursday that the pilot radioed air traffic controllers in Indianapolis twice shortly before the early afternoon crash, saying he was having issues with air speed and requesting a lower altitude for the flight.

State police identified the two victims as Stephen James Reardon, 68, and his wife, Beverly Ann Reardon, 59, of Woodbine, Md. The couple were alone on the plane, said Trooper Tony Watts, a state police spokesman.

The plane, a Hawker Beechcraft 58, was registered to Island Trading Ltd., a home business owned by Reardon. The plane left Frederick, Md., for Olive Branch, Miss., at 10:24 a.m. Tuesday, and air traffic controllers lost contact just before 12:30 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said.

At that time, the plane was flying at 2,500 feet about 15 miles southwest of Hazard.

Obregon says the plane came almost straight down into a remote hilltop in Daniel Boone National Forest in foul weather.

He says there were reports of icing and freezing temperatures along the plane's intended route.

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