New Jersey Plane Crash: Ice on Wings May Have Caused Fatal Crash

The pilot of a plane that crashed onto New Jersey’s I-287 and killed all five people on board reported icing conditions just minutes into his ascension, aviation officials said Tuesday afternoon.

“The pilot confirmed that he was picking up ice,” National Transportation Safety Board investigator in charge Ralph Hicks said at a Wednesday news conference. “How much he was picking up we don’t know, and we may never know.”

A recording of the conversation between the aircraft’s pilot and air traffic controllers (which can you listen to here) shows that icing was reported some 14 minutes after the plane took off from Teterboro Airport en route to Atlanta.

Minutes later, the high-performance Socata TBM-700 turboprop had spun out of control, apparently breaking up in midair, and crashed in a fireball on a busy highway, killing all five people aboard and narrowly avoiding dozens of cars and trucks speeding by.

Federal authorities revealed that the plane was equipped with deicing “boots,” but it wasn’t yet known whether those features were activated.

Among those on the plane were Jeffrey Buckalew, 45, and Rakesh Chawla, 36, two managing directors of Greenhill Co., Inc., a New-York investment firm, as well as Buckalew’s wife and two children.

Federal Aviation Administration records confirmed that Buckalew was the registered owner of the single-engine plane and had instrument rating, meaning he was qualified to fly in weather that requires pilots to use instruments to navigate instead of visually.

Here is a clip on the investigation of the New Jersey plane crash:

via USA Today