Cargo plane appears to have hit turbulence before crash in Texas

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DALLAS (AP) A Boeing 767 appears to have hit turbulence a minute before it dropped into a rapid descent and smashed into a Texas bay in February, killing all three people aboard.

(File)

The National Transportation Safety Board says "small vertical accelerations" suggest Atlas Air Flight 3591 entered turbulence soon after the pilots had descended to avoid a band of precipitation as they approached a Houston airport.

The federal agency says seconds after leveling off around 6,200 feet the cargo plane's engines surged to "maximum thrust" and it briefly pointed its nose 4 degrees up.

The jet then rapidly swung to point 49 degrees downward and began its drop toward the muddy bay. The reason for this sharp change isn't explained.

The NTSB previously said cockpit audio suggests the pilots lost control.