HENDERSON (FOX5) -- The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report regarding a fatal airplane crash that occurred at the Henderson Executive Airport on Sept. 7.

According to the report, the single-engine Beechcraft Sierra plane had tried to leave earlier in the day, around 8 a.m., but couldn't climb high enough to clear the mountains. NTSB determined the plane had issues with weight and fuel.

A total of 23 gallons of fuel were added to the plane and shortly after refueling, four people were aboard when it left the airport, NTSB reported. The plane returned minutes later.

One of the plane's occupants told one of the airport employees "that it was too hot and that the airplane couldn't climb to get around the mountains," the report said.

Around 7:50 p.m. on Sept. 7, the plane crashed about a half-mile south of the airport, near Volunteer Boulevard and Via Inspirada.

According to NTSB's preliminary report of the crash, the flight instructor and the pilot receiving the instructions were killed as a result of the crash. Two other passengers sustained serious injuries.

One of the passengers killed in the crash was identified by the Clark County coroner as Lorenzo Harris, 48, from California. According to the coroner, he died of thermal and blunt force injuries. 

The identity of the second passenger was still being investigated as of Sept. 17.

A spokesperson for Henderson Airport said the plane was carrying four passengers before taking off. The flight was headed towards Gillespie Field Airport in El Cajon, California, a suburb of the San Diego area.

The plane was registered to a flight school in Southern California.

An eyewitness told NTSB that the plane appeared to have rolled down the runway, about 500 to 600 feet, with about 50 percent power. The preliminary report said full power was applied and the plane lifted off the runway.

The plane climbed to about 50 to 100 feet "and appeared to struggle to gain altitude; climbing a few feet and then descending," the report said. The witness heard the pilot report to the tower via radio that a door had opened and requested to return to land.

According to radio traffic control logs, the plane took off around 7:41 p.m. at Henderson Airport. About two minutes later, the pilot asked to land. There was silence on the radios until 7:49 p.m. By that time, the plane had already crashed. 

NTSB's report said the plane appeared to climb another 50 to 100 feet and began turning left. Afterwards, the plane "entered a nose down left bank and impacted the terrain."

Another pilot called in to report the crash and air traffic controllers also called 911.

A good Samaritan who was at the scene of the crash, Sevag Sagherian, was driving on Volunteer Boulevard when he saw the flames of the crash in his rear-view mirror. Initially he thought it was a car, but his son who was in the car said he thought it was a plane that had crashed.

"I got out, I told my son to call 911 and I ran toward the blaze," Sagherian said. "I got there first and all I could see was this guy running toward me, moving slowly. He was on fire. I kept telling him, 'Drop, drop and roll!' And he needed help rolling. He was exhausted from trying to pat out the fire. I took my shirt off and I was hitting him with it, but the flames would just not - I couldn't put them out."

Sagherian helped a second person by pulling him away from the burning plane.

"Something in me said this plane is going to blow up again, I just sensed it. I had no idea why," he said. "And I said, we've got to get this guy on the other side of this bridge. And as soon as we did, there was another explosion. So I got some shrapnel in my shin."

Sagherian also inhaled too much smoke and was taken to University Medical Center to be checked out for smoke inhalation. He was later released from the hospital on Sept. 8.

When NTSB investigators arrived at the scene, examiners noted the plane had "impacted a divided roadway, slid through a steel barrier fence and came to a rest in a culvert drainage area," the report said.

According to NTSB's findings, the tail separated from the main wreckage near the back of the baggage door, and was found adjacent to the culvert entrance. The cabin area and the wing's inboard sections, including the wing fuel tanks, were mostly consumed by the post-impact fire.

The wreckage was moved to a secure location for further examination.

A final report from NTSB and its conclusions regarding the crash could take up to two years to complete, according to the preliminary report.

Copyright 2019 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved 

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