The private jet that crashed outside Boston Saturday reached 190mph, but never lifted off the ground, according to data from the plane’s black box.
The flight data recorder also indicates that the pilot tried to brake and reverse the thrusters before the fiery accident that killed billionaire Lewis Katz and six others. Tire skid marks were also found on the runway leading up to the crash site.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board said it’s not yet clear why the pilot tried to slow the Gulfstream IV before takeoff at Hanscom Field.
Information retrieved from the Gulfstream IV’s cockpit voice recorder picked up a conversation between the pilot and co-pilot of the about an aircraft control issue, Schiada said, but he would not elaborate and stressed that investigators had not yet determined the cause of the crash.
Loss: Marcella Dalsey (left), executive director of the Drew A Katz foundation, and Anne Leeds (right), wife of Longport, New Jersey commissioner James Leeds, diedFrantic: Skid marks can be seen on the field, showing the plane’s path before it burst into flames. A witness said it did not even get airborne
This is the flight data recorder recovered from the jet that crashed Saturday near Boston, killing eight people. Investigators are currently examining it for clues about what went wrong
This is the cockpit voice recorder from the doomed flight. Investigators said it picked up discussion among the pilot and co-pilot about trouble with air traffic control
Chilling: An image taken on Monday shows the charred wreckage of the Gulfstream IV that erupted into flames near Boston on Saturday, killing seven
Terror: An image shows the plane crash at the bottom of the runway at Hanscom Field. The aircraft was heading to Atlantic City on Saturday
Chilling images have revealed the charred wreckage of the private jet that crashed near Boston on Saturday, killing seven people including billionaire Lewis Katz.
The photographs show the shell of the burned-out aircraft splayed across the banks of the Shawsheen River after leaving a trail of debris across the field in Bedford, Massachusetts where it erupted in flames following a takeoff attempt at Hanscom Field.
Investigators have now revealed that the crash was so quick that the pilots had no time to issue a mayday as the plane, a Gulfstream IV owned by Katz, hurtled 2,000 feet off the runway. It then plowed through a fence and across the river banks – killing everyone on board – before coming to a stop.
‘It’s our understanding from a witness the aircraft never became airborne,’ Luke Schiada, senior air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, told the Boston Herald.
‘My understanding is there wasn’t any abnormal communication… We haven’t ruled out anything, but there’s no reason to suggest it was anything but an accident.’
The plane, which was bound for Atlantic City, was carrying seven people, and six have now been identified by the District Attorney’s Office.
Katz, 72, perished just four days after he won control of the Philadelphia Inquirer following a bitter legal battle.
Marcella Dalsey, the executive director of his son Drew’s foundation, also died alongside Susan Asbell of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Marcella Dalsey, 59, from Williamstown, New Jersey and Katz’s nieghbor Anne Leeds of Longport, New Jersey.
The pilot was identified as James McDowell, 51, from Georgetown, Delaware, and Teresa Ann Benhoff, 48, from Easton, Maryland was on board as air crew.
Remains: The National Transportation Safety Board has taken over the investigation into the plane crash to determine what caused it
Shall: A National Transportation Safety Board official looks through the wreckage where it came to a stop after plummeting down an embankment
Terror: Officials work near wreckage at the scene on Monday. Investigators have said there’s no reason to suggest it was anything but an accident
Inside: The pilot, James McDowell, 51, from Delaware, and air crew member Teresa Ann Benhoff, 48, from Maryland also perished in the crash
Fiery tomb: Lewis Katz, the billionaire co-owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer, and six other people died in the crash that was headed to New Jersey
Skeleton: The pilots did not even have time to issue a mayday as the plane, a Gulfstream IV owned by Katz, hurtled 2,000 feet off the runway
The DA’s office said there is ‘still one autopsy and positive identification to be made’.
Nearby residents recounted seeing a fireball and feeling the blast of the explosion shake their homes.
Authorities have not speculated on what caused the crash but investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board are underway.
The plane was headed to Atlantic City International Airport in New Jersey when it apparently went off the runway and crashed at 9:40pm then caught fire, authorities said.
Jeff Patterson told The Boston Globe he saw a fireball about 60 feet in the air.
‘I heard a big boom, and I thought at the time that someone was trying to break into my house because it shook it,’ said Patterson’s son, 14-year-old Jared Patterson. ‘I thought someone was like banging on the door trying to get in.’
The air field has been closed for further investigation.
Boston.com reports that residents who lived as far as Boston could smell burning rubber and many took to Twitter to describe the incident.
‘Can actually see particles in air in Cambridge, Porter Square allegedly from Hanscom crash,’ tweeted Aubry Bracco.
Doomed: The skid marks are also seen in the grass running off the runway as National Transportation Safety Board officials examine the scene
Out of control: Skid marks are seen on the runway at the scene on Monday as a destroyed wheel lies at the end of the tarmac
Debris: A National Transportation Safety Board official walks away from a piece of the landing gear at the scene on Monday
Debris: Runway lights and parts of a broken fence can be seen strewn across the field in aerial photographs taken on Monday
Katz, 72, and business partner H.F. ‘Gerry’ Lenfest only recently became the controlling owners of the Inquirer, The Daily News and Philly.com after buying out the other partners for $88million in a Tuesday private auction.
‘We all deeply mourn the loss of my true friend and fellow investor in ownership of The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Daily News and Philly.com,’ Lenfest said. ‘It is a severe loss, but I am pleased to announce that Drew Katz, Lewis’s son, will replace his father on the board of our new company.’
Drew Katz issued a statement of his own as well, praising his father.
‘My father was my best friend. He taught me everything. He never forgot where and how he grew up, and he worked tirelessly to support his community in countless ways that were seen and unseen,’ Drew Katz said in a statement.
‘He loved his native city of Camden and his adopted home of Philadelphia. He believed in strengthening education through his founding of charter schools, his support of the Boys & Girls Clubs and his generosity to his alma maters, Temple University and Dickinson Law School.
‘But his greatest accomplishment by far was being the most amazing father to my sister and me, and grandparent to his four grandchildren.’
Mr Leeds told the Press of Atlantic City that his wife, Anne, had been invited last minute to attend a fundraiser with Katz in Concord, Saturday afternoon.