FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Witnesses have told federal investigators that former star pitcher Roy Halladay was flying his tiny sport plane low over the Gulf of Mexico shortly before it slammed into the water and killed him.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Noreen Price said Halladay’s ICON A5 experienced a “high-energy impact” with the water.

Price said the 40-year-old Halladay had been a licensed pilot since 2013 and logged about 700 hours of flight time before Tuesday’s crash near Tampa. She said a preliminary report on the cause likely will be issued in seven to 10 days, but the full investigation could take up to two years.

— The Associated Press