“We Have No Engines, I Need Help” Heartbreaking Last Words of Pilot With Family Aboard


A Knoxville doctor, his wife and their college age daughter from Knoxville were killed when their small plane crashed into a house in Plainville Massachusetts. Joseph Richard Kalister, wife Betty, and daughter Nicole were heading to orientation at the college Nicole planned to attend when the accident occurred. Shortly before crashing into a 2-story home, Dr. Kalister can be heard radioing that the plane was having engine problems before his last transmission which simply and calmly relayed “We have no engines, I need your help”. Shortly afterwards, the tower radios lost contact.

The plane had crashed into a home and the occupants ran for their lives as the flames quickly engulfed the house. Neighbors were stunned and emotional as they described the panic and chaos after the crash. Firefighters arrived quickly on the scene but were unable to save the house. One small story of survival gave the family a little comfort as they surveyed their house – the firefighters had managed to save the family cat from the fire.

Investigators are on the scene today and plane to release their preliminary report in the next two weeks. In addition to serving as an emergency room doctor for over 25 years in Knoxville, Dr. Kalister served as a pilot in the United States Air Force. Early signs point to some sort of catastrophic engine failure and not pilot error. Dr. and Ms. Kalister and Nicole leave behind Nicole’s grief stricken sister, grandparents, and many other grieving family and friends.