New Jersey Plane Crash

December 21, 2011 by staff 

New Jersey Plane CrashNew Jersey Plane Crash, N.J. – After a normal takeoff and a routine conversation with air traffic controllers about potential icing conditions, a small plane carrying two investment bankers and three others to Georgia headed off into the skies over New Jersey on Tuesday morning.

Minutes later, the high-performance Socata TBM-700 turboprop had spun out of control and crashed in a fireball on a busy highway, killing all five people aboard and narrowly avoiding dozens of cars and trucks speeding by.

(Below, watch cell-phone video of the wreckage in a report filed by CBS News station WCBS-TV)

Federal investigators were to resume searching the area for wreckage Wednesday morning. The debris was scattered over at least a half-mile, with one section found lodged in a tree a quarter-mile away. The crash closed both sides of busy Interstate 287 for hours on Tuesday.

The New York investment banking firm Greenhill & Co. said two of its managing directors, Jeffrey Buckalew, 45, and Rakesh Chawla, 36, as well as Buckalew’s wife and two children, were on the plane. Buckalew was the registered owner of the single-engine plane and had a pilot’s license.

5 die in small plane crash on N.J. highway

National Transportation Safety Board officials said Tuesday the plane wasn’t required to have a black box, which would have recorded flight data, but they said investigators would be searching for other memory devices, including GPS, collision avoidance systems or any device with a recordable chip that might yield more information.

The NTSB didn’t say what role icing may have played in the crash. But an audio recording available online of the pilot speaking to air traffic controllers in the minutes before the crash offered some early clues.

The pilot was told to maintain an altitude of 10,000 feet as he headed southwest over northern New Jersey as a controller warned him about the conditions in the clouds above — specifically accumulations of ice particles known as rime.

“There are reports of moderate rime. … If it gets worse let me know and when center takes your handoff I’ll climb you and maybe get you higher,” one controller said.

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