It's unclear where the plane was headed

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WILLOUGHBY HILLS, Ohio -- The plane that crashed Monday night near the Cuyahoga County Airport was having trouble ascending and was attempting to turn back to land when it crashed, the National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday.

The four men killed in the crash were students at Case Western Reserve University, according to the State Highway Patrol and other sources.

The NTSB says it will look at whether weight was an issue but said the plane did have four seats.

The patrol tells Channel 3 News the plane, a 1999 Cessna Model 172R, which crashed just outside the airport at 10 p.m. shortly after takeoff had been rented for four hours and no flight plan was filed.

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Authorities released the names of those killed as follows:

Pilot:

William Michael Felten, 20, of Saginaw, Mich.

Passengers:

  • Lucas Vincent Marcelli, 20, of Jackson Township.
  • Abraham Pishevar, 18, of Rockville, Md.
  • John Hill, 18, of St. Simons, Ga.
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Bryan Marcelli, father of Lucas Marcelli, told the Associated Press the four were apparently taking a late-night flight to see the city. He said the four planned to go up, take a look and come right back to the same airport.

READ MORE: Case Western Reserve University statement

Marcelli, Pishevar and Hill were all members of Case's wrestling squad, according to head coach Mark Hawald.

According to Laurence Bolotin, national director of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, Felten and Marcelli were members of the fraternity at Case.

In fact, the fraternity's last Twitter post, from April, was a retweet of @CWRUGreekLife congratulating Marcelli on receiving an athletic award.

The crash happened near the intersection of Bishop Road and Curtiss Wright Parkway, near the Lake County-Cuyahoga County border.

The plane became engulfed in flames upon impact, leaving the four occupants trapped inside the aircraft.

One witness described hearing what sounded like a "loud firecracker," while others reported seeing a ball of fire.

All four victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

Aug. 26, 2014: Raw footage from the scene of a plane crash in which four people died at the Cuyahoga County Airport. The crash happened near the intersection of Bishop Road and Curtiss Wright Parkway. WKYC-TV

The plane was listed for rent for $120 an hour on the website of T&J Flying Club, which rents planes at both the Cuyahoga County Airport and Burke Lakefront Airport, according to the site. WKYC has learned the flying club's log book shows Felten signed the plane out Monday night.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane was owned by Laurence Rohl of Willoughby. Its certificate was first issued in 2005 and remains valid through 2016.

The NTSB says Felten obtained his pilot's license about a year ago.

The FAA responded to the scene. The National Transportation Safety Board arrived midday Tuesday.

Tuesday afternoon the plane wreckage was moved to a hangar at the Cuyahoga County Airport and Bishop Road reopened.

INVESTIGATION: Safety last: Lies and coverups mask roots of small-plane carnage

In 2009, two people died when a single-engine plane crashed shortly after taking off from the Cuyahoga County Airport.

All four were students at Case Western Reserve University.

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