For the first time, NBC Connecticut spoke with the mother who lost her two little girls when a plane crashed into their East Haven Home. It had been a month and a half since the deadly incident, and Joann Mitchell said she was ready to share her story.
“It's an image I will never forget...that will haunt me for the rest of my life,” Joanne Mitchell said. She still couldn’t erase the horrific scene from her mind. “Why did it have to happen to me? Why my house why my girls?” she questioned.
Mitchell said she was in her East Haven Home on Charter Oak Avenue the morning of August 9th, when it suddenly shook. So she ran downstairs to check on her daughters in the bedroom and wasn’t prepared to see a plane in there. “All I saw was a plane and smoke. I start screaming for my girls...Sade, Sade, Madisyn, Madisyn, but there was nothing…they didn’t say anything,” Mitchell explained.
Mitchell called 911, and tried digging through the rubble to save 1 year old Madisyn, and 13 year old Sade. In a matter of seconds the place burst into flames. Then emergency crews showed up. “I probably would have burned in the house if they wouldn't have pulled me out...but as their Mom, I had to find my girls,” she said.
Hours later this mother learned her girls did not survive. “If I had the choice I would have given my life for my daughters to still have my daughters here. I have lived my life…they haven’t,” Mitchell added.
A month and a half later, investigators still didn’t know why the plane slammed into Joann Mitchell’s home, and she needed answers. “What caused this plane to crash into my home and take my daughters lives? I still don’t know,” she said.
The pilot of the plane, Bill Henningsgaard, and his son Maxwell were also killed in the crash. They lived in Washington State. The N-T-S-B said Henningsgaard was in contact with the control tower at Tweed New Haven Airport and did not declare an emergency before the crash.
Mitchell’s home was demolished a few weeks ago, and she told NBC Connecticut she lost everything she owned when the fire ripped through the home. She said she was currently living with family and trying to start over.