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DENVER'S CRASH LINKED TO FUEL PROBLEMS

The government Tuesday wrapped up its investigation of the 1997 airplane crash that killed singer John Denver, blaming the accident on fuel problems and Denver's inexperience with his new experimental plane.

The National Transportation Safety Board, in a 5-0 vote, said the probable cause was threefold: Denver took off with too little fuel in one tank, had trouble switching to his backup tank and inadvertently put his plane into a roll while his attention was diverted.

The board said contributing factors included the plane builder's decision to relocate the fuel tank selector handle and an absence of markings on the handle and nearby fuel gauges, as well as Denver's lack of training in his new plane. It crashed Oct. 12, 1997, off Pacific Grove, Calif.

The 53-year-old singer-songwriter was alone when his plane plunged about 150 feet straight into the waters off California's Monterey Peninsula.

He had bought the aircraft only two weeks earlier and had limited flying time as its pilot.

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