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NTSB: Plane that crashed in Houston hadn't been flown in 10 months

NTSB: Plane that crashed in Houston hadn't been flown in 10 months
Investigators examine the wreckage of an MD-87 aircraft at a small airport in Houston, Texas, on Tuesday.  Photo courtesy NTSB/Twitter

Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Federal investigators say a plane that crashed in Houston this week hadn't been used for nearly a year and that there's evidence of "heavy braking" immediately before the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board said during a news conference on Thursday that the private plane hadn't flown since last December and tire marks on the runway at Houston Executive Airport indicated hard braking.

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The plane crashed on Tuesday as it attempted to take off with 21 people on board. It was carrying Houston Astros fans on a flight to Boston for Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.

NTSB investigator Michael Graham said authorities found the tire marks from the MD-87 jet, which crashed into a fence at the airport and caught fire.

There were no serious injuries.

"The tire marks indicate a hard braking application and good tire contact with the runway surface," Graham told reporters. "All tires were in contact with the runway when the aircraft exited the runway surface."

Graham said the plane's engines were in "good condition" at the wreckage site, but the NTSB said it is examining video that appears to show smoke coming from one of the engines.

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The agency is still retrieving data from the flight recorders, he added.

Officials said the plane failed to gain altitude on takeoff. The flight mechanic was on board and led passengers out of the main cabin door after the crash.

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