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FATAL PLANE CRASH BLAMED ON PILOT ERROR

Pilot error caused the February crash of a Kentucky Air National Guard cargo plane that left 16 people dead, news reports said.

The crew of the C-130 had shut down one of the four engines to simulate engine failure moments before the Feb. 6 accident, the Evansville Courier and radio station WIKY reported Sunday, citing unidentified military sources.The Courier said the distracted pilots didn't immediately notice the plane slowing until it stalled and banked to the side.

The plane crashed into a restaurant and exploded in a fireball that engulfed a hotel. All five crew members and 11 people on the ground were killed.

WIKY quoted sources as saying the crew forgot one engine was idled and the plane flipped when a crewman steered in the direction of that engine.

The newspaper reported that investigators found no mechanical problems with the aircraft.