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Retired pitcher Halladay's plane maneuvered at low altitude before crash

Reuters logo Reuters 11/8/2017
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Video by CBS Sports

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Nov 8 (Reuters) - Witnesses reported that retired baseball star Roy Halladay maneuvered his plane at low altitude before the aircraft crashed off the coast of central Florida, killing him, a federal official said on Wednesday.

Investigators are seeking to determine what caused the crash of Halladay's ICON A5 single-engine amphibian aircraft on Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico, less than a mile offshore from the city of New Port Richey, Florida.

Video from boaters who were in the area shows Halladay's plane making a turn as it descended toward the water. The footage was posted online by celebrity website TMZ, which reported the boaters said the plane repeatedly went from an altitude of about 100 feet (30 meters) to 5 feet (1.5 m).

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Noreen Price was asked at a news conference in Florida about how Halladay, 40, had been flying the plane.

"Generally, a lot of witnesses have said that the plane was maneuvering at low altitude," Price said.

But she declined to give a full account of what witnesses told investigators, citing the ongoing probe into the cause of the crash, which she said could take a year or two.

Authorities have said Halladay did not send out any distress calls before the crash. The NTSB have recovered two data recorders from the wreckage.

Halladay pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies and retired from Major League Baseball in 2013 after a 15-year career. He won a Cy Young Award as the best pitcher in both the American and National Leagues, was named an eight-time All-Star and amassed 203 regular-season victories.

In 2010, he threw a no-hitter for the Phillies in Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Cincinnati Reds. His feat came 54 years after Don Larsen threw a perfect game for the New York Yankees in the 1956 World Series.

Halladay had settled in the Tampa Bay area, according to local media. He became a certified pilot in 2013, the year he retired, Price said.

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