NTSB Investigators Find Data And Cockpit Voice Recorders At Hanscom Crash Site
BEDFORD (CBS/AP) — Federal investigators were back at Hanscom Field Monday, trying to figure out what caused a Gulfstream jet to crash during takeoff late Saturday night.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators reported Monday evening that they had just found the plane’s flight data recorder cockpit voice recorder from the jet. They were taken to Washington for analysis.
All seven people on board were killed, including Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner Lewis Katz.
Bedford police released 911 calls Monday afternoon that they received moments after the crash.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports
Residents reported hearing a “big boom that shook the house” and seeing a “mushroom cloud” that “looked like the atomic bomb went off” near Hanscom.
Listen: Hanscom Crash 911 Calls
NTSB investigators are reviewing the pilots’ experience and the aircraft’s maintenance history. According to the NTSB, the pilot reported 18,500 flight hours of experience, the first officer had 11,200 hours. Investigators also are looking for surveillance video that may have captured the crash at Hanscom Field and the plane’s maintenance record.
An NTSB spokesperson said there’s no other information to indicate the crash was anything but an accident.
While there were skid marks visible on the runway and divots in the grass beyond it, NTSB officials would not speculate on whether the pilot attempted to abort takeoff.
Cranes were being brought in to help pick through the wreckage and to aid in the search for the voice recorder and flight data recorder.
The plane was carrying four passengers, two pilots and a cabin attendant, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
Katz was returning to New Jersey from a gathering at the home of historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Also killed was a next-door neighbor of Katz’s, Anne Leeds, a 74-year-old retired preschool teacher he had invited to accompany him, and Marcella Dalsey, the director of Katz’s son’s foundation.
The fourth passenger, Susan Asbell, 67, was the wife of former Camden County, New Jersey, prosecutor Sam Asbell.
Spouses confirmed the deaths Monday of co-pilot Bauke “Mike” de Vries of Marlton, New Jersey, and flight attendant Teresa Benhoff of Easton, Maryland. Shelly de Vries says her 45-year-old husband was once a passenger in a crash that killed another pilot. She says he had no memory of it, and still loved to fly.
Massachusetts authorities have identified the co-pilot as 51-year-old James McDowell of Georgetown, Delaware. His family is declining to comment.
Nancy Phillips, Katz’s longtime partner and city editor at the Inquirer, was not aboard.
Katz, 72, made his fortune investing in parking lots and the New York Yankees’ cable network. He once owned the NBA’s New Jersey Nets and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and in 2012 became a minority investor in the Inquirer.
Less than a week before the crash, Katz and Harold H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest struck a deal to gain full control of the Inquirer as well as the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com by buying out their co-owners for $88 million. Lenfest said Sunday that the deal will be delayed but will continue. Katz’s son, Drew, will take his father’s seat on the board of directors, Lenfest said.
SATURDAY NIGHT EVENT
The event at Goodwin’s home in Concord, Massachusetts, was held to support an education initiative by Goodwin’s son, called Rivers and Revolutions. Afterward, Katz, Goodwin’s friend of nearly 20 years, joined the author and others at dinner, where they talked about their shared interests, including journalism, Goodwin said.
“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,” she said in a statement.
Leeds’ husband, James P. Leeds Sr., town commissioner of Longport, New Jersey, said he received a text message from his wife four minutes before the crash saying they were about to take off.
Dalsey’s daughter, Chelsea Dalsey, said her mother also was on the plane, but she declined to comment further. Marcella Dalsey was president of KATZ Academy Charter school, which she founded with Lewis Katz, and is the former owner of an ice cream shop in Haddonfield, New Jersey, a suburb of Philadelphia.
Schiada said the airport employee who saw the crash reported the jet never left the ground. It came to rest 2,000 feet from the end of the paved runway. He said the location of the burned and mangled wreckage, in a gully filled with water, complicated the initial examination and the recovery effort.
State police troopers and divers were among those searching for items from the wreckage Sunday night.
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