NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WHDH/AP) — Federal investigators are investigating a fatal plane crash in a Massachusetts cemetery on Monday.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Lynn Spencer said Tuesday that investigators will spend about two days at the Rural Cemetery in New Bedford.

A preliminary report is expected in about two weeks.

Westport resident Paul Vidal crashed his Cessna 150 Monday afternoon about 40 minutes after taking off from New Bedford Regional Airport.

Spencer says witnesses report Vidal was in good spirits as he spent about 15 minutes doing pre-flight checks.

She also cautioned against drawing conclusions from video and witness statements suggesting Vidal was doing aerobatic maneuvers.

Chris Peyton told 7NEWS that the pilot appeared to be flying too low to the ground and performing aerial acrobatics before nosediving into the ground.

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“It was doing a couple of loopity loops but really too low for the acrobats he was trying to perform,” Peyton said. “As I was approaching the cemetery, he got below the tree line but it was more like a nosedive. I knew at that point he wasn’t going to be able to come out of the trick he was trying to perform.”

Vidal’s family says the 74-year-old was a seasoned pilot who loved flying. The Federal Aviation Administration says Vidal was a licensed private pilot since at least 2010.

“He enjoyed everything. He loved astronomy, he loved flying,” Carol Vidal said of her husband, 74-year-old Paul Vidal, whose Cessna 150 crashed into a rural cemetery near Rockdale Avenue around 3 p.m.

Carol says she believes her husband of 40 years was doing all he could to make sure he crashed in a way that wouldn’t injure anyone else.

“I remember him saying that he would always do that if he had to come down, to not hurt anybody,” she said. “He was a good pilot.”

The couple had just completed a 5K race together days before the crash.

There were no other reported injuries.

(Copyright (c) 2022 Sunbeam Television. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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