Report Says Instructor, Student Fought for Controls Before East Hartford Plane Crash

What to Know

  • A small twin-engine Piper PA 34 plane crashed in East Hartford on Oct. 11, 2016 around 3:30 p.m.
  • Arian Prevella, the flight instructor struggled with flying student, Feras Freitekh over the controls
  • The documents state that Freitekh was laughing and joking, making Prevella uncomfortable, the instructor told police.

A plane crash in East Hartford was the result of a flight student refusing to give up controls to his instructor, while apparently doing everything "backwards", a police report revealed.

East Hartford police Lt. Josh Litwin said in October that investigators had concluded the crash was "an intentional act," but noted that they hadn't been able to determine a motive.

New documents from witness accounts reveal that Arian Prevella, a flight instructor and the owner of American Flight Academy in Hartford, struggled with flying student, Feras Freitekh.

On Oct. 11, 2016, an investigation was launched after the twin-engine Piper PA 34 crashed with the two men aboard during a training flight around 3:30 p.m. near the Connecticut headquarters of military jet-engine maker Pratt & Whitney.

The plane was on its final approach to Brainard Airport when it crashed on Main Street and burst into flames, according to the FAA.

Prevalla escaped from the burning plane and was in fair condition at Yale-New Haven Bridgeport Hospital's burn, a hospital spokesman said.

Arian Prevalla, survived the crash of a plane in East Hartford on Tuesday. He is being treated at the Bridgeport Hospital Burn Unit and is speaking to investigators about the crash.

When Prevalla was interviewed by police, police said he become "emotionally upset", according to the report.

Prevalla told police that Freitekh made a comment about how he didn't want to fly anymore and the instructor responded "then let's go back" to the airport. Freitekh, according to Prevalla, kept saying things that didn't make sense, like he didn't want to be a pilot anymore and that his mom wanted him to fly, the report stated.

Freitekh had been a student for a "few years" at the academy and considered a good student, Prevalla told police. On the day of the accident, Prevella said Freitekh was doing "everything wrong" and said his maneuvers were "backwards".

The documents state that Freitekh was laughing and joking, making Prevella uncomfortable, the instructor told police.

When Prevella demanded the controls, Freitekh said multiple times that he "got it". It is customary for a student to take their hands off controls when an instructor tells them too, however, Freitekh refused which provoked Prevella to start screaming for the student to pull the flaps up, the police documents explained.

Prevalla said the plane did not have enough altitude to recover so the plane turned and flipped before crashing.

The instructor said he did try to pull Freitekh out of the plane but he wasn't moving. He then kicked the window to get out and the flames were preventing him from getting back in, according to the report.

Prevalla suffered first- and second-degree burns on his arms and legs. Freitekh did not survive the crash.

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