Robert Snyder called the tower just a mile short of the runway. Snyder told the tower controller he was having problems and had lost his engine.
A preliminary NTSB report released Tuesday said Snyder had flown the single-engine Beech Bonanza from Daytona Beach to Wilmington where he dropped off some friends.
Passengers told investigators Snyder had checked the fuel tanks before they left Florida, but they said Snyder did not shut down the plane or check the fuel tanks on his stopover in Wilmington.
Snyder, a Raleigh businessman, died in the crash. He was the only one on board.
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