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Cause of Fire Traced in Nelson Air Crash

January 05, 1986|From the Dallas Times Herald

DE KALB, Tex. — National Transportation Safety Board investigators are checking into the possibility that an antiquated gasoline-fed heater may have caused a fire in entertainer Rick Nelson's plane before it crashed here New Year's Eve.

But investigators stressed that they are far from concluding what caused the twin-engine DC-3 to crash, killing Nelson, 45; his 27-year-old fiancee, Helen Blair, and five members of his band. Only the pilot and co-pilot survived.

Safety board Chairman James Burnett said a fuel line leading to the plane's rear heater was broken, but it is unclear whether the break occurred before or after impact.

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