The two men who survived the plane crash in which New York Yankee catcher Thurman Muson perished August 2 disagree on the cause of the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board announced yesterday.
Edward McAvoy, safety board investigator, also said yesterday Munson had complained to a friend over lunch that day that neither the emergency warning systems nor the alarms on the $1.3 million Cessna-Citation jet were working.
David Hall, 32, the copilot of the twin-engine Cessna and a licensed flight instructor, told investigators that Munson Allowed the plane to get too low and then slowed the aircraft to 10 knots below the safe landing speed on approach to the Akron-canton reginal airport.
Hall said Munson placed the jet in further peril by lowering the landing gear when the plane already had slowed too much and was too close to the ground.
Jerry D. Anderson, a licensed pilot and a friend of Munson, told investigators the plane lost power just before the crash and began to roll. One engine apparently did not respond as Munson tried to pull the plane up, Anderson said.
Both survivors of the crash told authorities they heard no warning horns and saw no danger lights when the plane drifted dangerously below a safe landing speed, McAvoy said, adding that the devices should have activated.
McAvoy said the exact cause of the crash could not be determined until the engines were flown to a laboratory in Montreal this week and dismantled.
Also yesterday, Jack Lang, secretary-treasurer of the Baseball Writers Association of America, squelched the emotional clamor for Munson's immediate induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame by saying it was "not possible for Munson to get into the Hall of Fame unless the board of directors rescinds the five-year ruling."
There is a five-year waiting period between the end of a player's career and his eligibility for the Hall of Fame ballot. While Roberto Clemente was inducted immediately after dying in a plane crash in 1973, Lang said "the Clemente selection was a onetime thing."
Though Munson may not be immediately inducted into the Hall, his family will be well provided for Munson's Yankee contract assures his widow Diane payments totaling $1 million, $200,000 this season and $400,000 for the next two years.