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Philadelphia Inquirer Co-Owner One Of 7 Killed In Hanscom Plane Crash

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BEDFORD (CBS/AP) — The co-owner of the The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Daily News and Philly.com, was one of 7 people killed in a crash at Hanscom Field.

The crash happened around 9:30 p.m. Saturday night. In total, two crew members, one cabin crew member and four passengers were killed in the crash.

The private jet, a Gulfstream IV, went off runway 11 in a wooded area, the FAA said.

It was headed to Atlantic City International Airport in New Jersey.

7 people were killed when a plane went off the runway prior to takeoff from Hanscom Field. (Rich MacDonald)

7 people were killed when a plane went off the runway prior to takeoff from Hanscom Field. (Rich MacDonald)

The paper’s editor Bill Marimow confirmed the death of Lewis Katz, 72, to Philly.com on Sunday, saying he learned the news from close associates, according to our sister station CBS Philly.

James P. Leeds, town commissioner of Longport, New Jersey, said his 74-year-old wife, Anne, was also aboard the plane. He received a text from Anne just four minutes before the crash saying they were about to take off, he said.

Anne Brennan Leeds was a friend of Lewis Katz and one of seven people killed in a crash at Hanscom Field. (Family photo)

Anne Brennan Leeds was a friend of Lewis Katz and one of seven people killed in a crash at Hanscom Field. (Family photo)

Anne Brennan Leeds, a retired preschool teacher, had been invited by her neighbor Katz on Saturday to attend an education-related function, James Leeds said. They left Longport at about 2 p.m., attended the event and went to dinner in Boston, he said.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the two other passengers were friends of  Katz from New Jersey. Marcella Dalsey, 59, of Haddonfield, N.J., was a mother of four, the director of Katz’s son’s foundation and president of the KATZ Academy Charter School, which she founded with Lewis Katz. Susan Asbell, 68, a mother of two from Cherry Hill, N.J., also was killed in the crash.

The names of the crew members have not yet been released.

The remains of at least one of those killed will be handled according to Jewish custom by volunteers who arrived at the crash scene from Schneerson Center in Connecticut.

Katz’s children released the following statement:

 “It is with an incomprehensible amount of grief and the heaviest of hearts that my sister and I announce the loss of our beloved dad. While details are still not completely available, I am able to confirm that our father was a passenger on an airplane that crashed on takeoff near Bedford, Massachusetts. My father was my best friend. He taught me everything. He never forgot where and how he grew up, and he worked tirelessly to support his community in countless ways that were seen and unseen. He loved his native city of Camden and his adopted home of Philadelphia. He believed in strengthening education through his founding of charter schools, his support of the Boys & Girls Clubs and his generosity to his alma maters, Temple University and Dickinson Law School. But his greatest accomplishment by far was being the most amazing father to my sister and me, and grandparent to his four grandchildren. His sudden passing adds to our family’s grief over the recent passing of our beloved mother, Marjorie Katz. We will miss both of them tremendously but will work to carry on the enormous legacy that they both created. I also wish to extend my deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the passengers and crew members who also died in this tragic accident. May God give us all strength in this difficult time.”

Katz had made his money first in parking garages and later on became a partner in the New York Yankees’ YES network. He also was once the owner of the New Jersey Nets and New Jersey Devils.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter released a statement Sunday, noting he had just spoken with Katz on Wednesday.

“Lewis was such a ‘full of life’ guy, always optimistic and forward looking, always wanting to push the envelope and do good things for Philadelphia and Camden. He would talk with me and other officials about what he could to do to make life better for children and improve the image of our great city. His passion for education, children’s sports programs and improving the business climate in our city were just a few of the things that he would always talk to me about. Lewis was a humble, soft spoken guy with a big heart who never forgot where he came from or how he achieved success. Our city and region will miss his commitment and passion, and our hearts and prayers go out to Drew and the entire family. May God Bless Lewis Katz.”

A partner of the Concord River Institute confirmed for WBZ NewsRadio 1030, that Katz had flown up from Atlantic City to attend their spring fundraiser Saturday night and was returning home when the crash occurred.

A representative for Doris Kearns Goodwin says Katz attended the event at her home along with more than 200 people.

The representative says the event Saturday was to support an education initiative involving one of her sons.Doris Kearns Goodwin called Katz ‘a cherished friend of nearly 20 years.”

“He was a force of nature. So deep was his commitment to education reform that he flew to Concord to support my son Michael’s Concord River institute. Afterward we all went to dinner, where we talked at length about our shared passions for sports and journalism, politics and history. But the last thing he said to me upon leaving for the plane was that most of all what we shared was our love and pride for our children. I have lost a great friend, his family has lost a great father and grandfather, and the country has lost a great man,” Kearns Goodwin said.

Lewis Katz (CBS Philly)

Lewis Katz (CBS Philly)

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said Sunday that Katz invited him on the flight to attend the event at Kearns Goodwin’s home, but he had another commitment.

Rendell said the plane gave Katz the ability to be spontaneous, deciding on a moment’s notice to call friends to join him for an out-of-state function or sporting event. He had flown with Katz about two dozen times since leaving office in 2011, including a recent trip to Los Angeles.

“He had this uncommon gift of having fun and making people around him have fun,” Rendell said.

Katz employed two full-time pilots and a flight attendant, Rendell said.

“The reason I’m mystified is those pilots maintained the plane like it was their life and death,” Rendell said.

Katz was one of two business moguls who bought out their partners last week with an $88 million bid for The Inquirer, which also operates the Philadelphia Daily News and the news website Philly.com

 

7 people were killed when a plane went off the runway, Saturday night. (Rich MacDonald)

Crews responded to the crash around 9:30 p.m. Saturday. (Rich MacDonald)

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board ares continuing to investigate. The NTSB will determine the probable cause of the accident.

The names of the other victims have not yet been released.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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