Dakota Left Trail Of Debris

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Authorities are puzzling over what may have been the in-flight break-up of a PA-28 that killed four in Stafford County, N.J., just north of Atlantic City last Wednesday. NTSB Investigator David Muzio told the Press of Atlantic City that the airplane left a trail of debris about 2,000 feet long before the main wreckage came down in a wooded area near a highway. The pilot and three passengers died. "Initial information suggests that the aircraft was at (3,600 to) 3,700 feet, and the plane entered a rapid descent after that," Muzio said. According to the newspaper, witnesses said they heard an explosion just before the crash. Investigators found no evidence of fire or explosion. According to Weather Underground, weather at Atlantic City Airport, about 10 miles away, was benign at the time of the crash. Visibility was 10 miles and winds were 9 mph, gusting to 14 mph. There was no evidence of fire or explosion in the wreckage.