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No emergency calls made before crash that killed Oklahoma coach

By Suzi Parker

LITTLE ROCK, Ark (Reuters) - No emergency calls were made in the moments before a plane crash that killed two Oklahoma State University basketball coaches earlier this month, a preliminary crash report showed on Monday.

Oklahoma State University women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna, who were on a recruiting trip to Arkansas, were killed in the crash, about 45 miles from Little Rock.

Also killed were the plane's 82-year-old pilot, former Oklahoma state senator Olin Branstetter, and his wife, Paula.

The National Transportation Safety Board reported that the Piper plane's travel weather had been clear during the flight.

Witnesses told NTSB investigators that the plane was flying low and making turns before it made a right turn, descended steeply and disappeared from radar, the NTSB report said. Air traffic control did not communicate with the plane.

The plane, which was owned by the Branstetters and did not have a flight plan, crashed in a densely wooded area of the Ouachita National Forest near Perryville, Arkansas.

The report said the plane was contained in an impact crater 10 feet in diameter and 3.5 feet deep, and that an initial ground impact scar was "consistent with the airplane's right wing leading edge contacting the ground first."

The plane had left Stillwater Regional Airport in Oklahoma, where it had not received any maintenance, and was headed to North Little Rock Municipal Airport, the report said.

The NTSB said it could take 12 months to determine the exact cause of the crash.

(Editing by Corrie MacLaggan and Cynthia Johnston)

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