NTSB Releases Preliminary Report on East Haven Fatal Plane Crash

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    A firefighter surveys the scene of a small plane crash, Friday, Aug. 9, 2013, in East Haven, Conn. The multi-engine, propeller-driven plane plunged into a working-class suburban neighborhood near Tweed New Haven Airport, on Friday. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)

    The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report on the airplane crash in East Haven on August 9 that killed four people and it includes information from a witness who said he saw the plane, inverted and traveling at a high rate of speed before the crash.

    William Henningsgard, of Medina, Washington, was operating the airplane and his 17-year-old son, Maxwell, was a passenger onboard when the aircraft went down on Charter Oak Avenue at 11:21 a.m. on August 9 and struck two houses at 64 and 68 Charter Oak Avenue, according to officials.

    Sade Brantley,13, and her 1-year-old sister, Madisyn Mitchell, were in one of houses that was struck. All four were killed.

    A student pilot who was traveling on Interstate 95 at exit 51 right before the crash told the NTSB he looked to his right and saw the airplane at the “end of a right roll.” It was “inverted and traveling at a high rate of speed, nose-first” toward the ground in the vicinity of Tweed-New Haven airport.

    When the witness stopped at a local business, he learned that it had crashed.

    A witness who lives two houses away from the crash scene told NTSB he was in his living room and saw the plane descending at a 90-degree angle, right-side down, into the houses.

    The airplane Henningsgard was operating had left Teeterboard Airport in New Jersey around 10:49 a.m. on the day of the crash. Two minutes before the crash, the pilot told air traffic control that could see the airport.

    The last radar target was at 11:20 a.m., according to the NTSB.

    At that point, it was  .7 miles north of the runway the plane was scheduled to land at and it was traveling at an altitude of 800 feet, according to the report.

    When investigators arrived at the crash scene, they would find the front half of the plane, including the cockpit, left engine and front two-thirds of the fuselage in the basement, according to the NTSB.

    The right wing struck another house and the right engine and propeller struck the ground between the two houses.  

    Fire consumed most of the wreckage.

    The NTSB also noted the wind as of 11:26 a.m. as 12 knots, gusting to 19 knots, along with a visibility of nine miles and an overcast ceiling at 900 feet.

    You can read the full report on the NTSB Web site.

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