NTSB: Plane nose-dived before crash into hospital

By the Associated Press | July 22, 2011 | 2:15 PM EDT

WATSONVILLE, Calif. (AP) — Federal investigators say a plane that crashed into a Central California medical building, killing four people on board, took off at a steep angle, rolled until it was nearly upside down and then nose-dived.

The findings were included in a preliminary report about the July 7 crash in Watsonville issued Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The NTSB says two witnesses reported that the plane rolled rapidly to the left shortly after taking off at a steep angle from Watsonville Municipal Airport around 7:20 p.m. It nearly inverted and then nose-dived, completing two turns before disappearing behind trees.

The plane hit a parking lot and then slid into an unoccupied building at Watsonville Community Hospital.

Forty-five-year-old David Houghton, his wife, 44-year-old Dorothy, and their sons, Luke and Ryan, died.