METZ, W.Va. (WBOY) — The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its preliminary report on the small plane crash in Metz, Marion County that killed three people earlier this month.

According to the NTSB, the pilot and the passengers were congregants of the same church, and the flight was a planned day trip to conduct church business in Indiana.

On the return flight to Myerstown, Pennsylvania, the NTSB report said the plane encountered a band of precipitation that was extending across Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

The NTSB report said that just before 6 p.m., the pilot contacted the Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center controller to try and figure out how to get around the area. As the pilot and air traffic control were working to navigate around the storm, just after 6 p.m. the report includes the following exchange:

“We’re going to deviate about 20 [degrees] left and see if we can [unintelligible] of this thing.” The controller responded, “Roger. I’m showing the more extreme heavy precipitation just off your left wing there and with the small gap at your 12 o’clock and 5 miles.” At 1801:31, the pilot replied, “Yep, that’s what we’re looking for.” There were no further communications from the airplane.

NTSB Aviation Accident Preliminary Report

The plane was in an area of extreme precipitation when it went down, according to the NTSB report, and its track data showed a steep, descending, right turn that continued until data was lost.

The NTSB reports the pilot began flying in 2005 and had 387 total hours of flight experience, 232 or which were in the same make and model of airplane involved in the crash. The pilot did not have an instrument rating, the report went on to say.

The plane’s most recent annual inspection had been completed the day prior to the Aug. 11 crash, the report said.

Click here to read the full report.