Pilot reported problems gaining altitude before crash that killed 4 college students in Ohio

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CLEVELAND – Federal officials say the pilot of a small plane carrying four Ohio college students radioed the tower after takeoff to say he was having problems climbing and would be returning to the airport.

A National Transportation Safety Board spokesman says a preliminary report on the Monday night plane crash in suburban Cleveland should be ready within 10 days.

All four people aboard the plane were students at Case Western Reserve University. They planned to take a short sightseeing flight after their first day of classes when the plane crashed near Cuyahoga County Regional Airport in Willoughby Hills.

The plane is being stored in an airport hangar as the NTSB completes its on-scene investigation.

A man who lives near the airport says he heard a plane engine sputtering before the crash.

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