A small plane heading for Georgia crashed Tuesday on a major New York-area highway, spiraling out of control, hitting a wooded median and scattering wreckage across the road. All five people aboard were killed, but no one on the ground was injured.
The pilot had discussed icy conditions with controllers just before the plane went down, but investigators were unsure what role, if any, icing played in the crash.
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, Corinne, and two children, Jackson and Meriwether, were on the plane that crashed on Interstate 287.
Buckalew was the registered owner of the single-engine plane and had a pilot's license.
Wreckage was scattered over at least a half-mile, with a section found lodged in a tree of a home about a quarter-mile away, near a highway entrance ramp. The crash closed both sides of the busy highway for hours.
Chris Covello of Rockaway Township said he saw the plane spin out of control from the car dealership where he works in Morristown, near the site of the crash.
"It was like the plane was doing tricks or something, twirling and flipping. It started going straight down. I thought any second they were going to pull up. But then the wing came off and they went straight down," he said.
The Socata TBM-700 turboprop had departed from nearby Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and crashed about 14 minutes into its flight. It was headed for DeKalb Peachtree Airport near Atlanta.