Federal Investigators Say Icing Factors Unknown In Fatal I-287 Plane Crash

HARDING TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Federal investigators resumed searching on Wednesday at the scene of a fiery plane crash that killed five people when their private plane broke apart over I-287 in New Jersey.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney Hears From Officials

The question of icing was raised on Tuesday as a possible factor in the accident.  However, officials said they are unable to pinpoint how big a factor it really was.

Photos: I-287 Plane Crash

FLASHBACK: 2011: News In Photos

“How much ice was on the airplane, we do not know and we may never know. The aircraft was in radar contact at the time and continued in radar contact throughout the accident sequence,” NTSB Air Safety Investigator Ralph Hicks said Wednesday.

Hicks did say that the plane was “equipped with a de-ice system” and added that other planes also reported icing conditions on Tuesday.

“We did have at least one air-carrier crew of a commercial air carrier that reported icing conditions in the general time and location as the accident occurred,” he said.

Killed in the crash were Upper East Side investment banker Jeffrey Buckalew, his wife Corrine, their daughter Meriweather and their son Jackson.  Buckalew’s co-worker, Rakesh Chawla, was also on the plane and killed.

WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane On The Story

Pieces of the plane were hauled away on flat-bed trucks Wednesday. The single engine Socata TBM-700 turboprop crashed in what investigators called “an uncontrolled decent” around 10 a.m. Tuesday in the median of I-287 in Harding Township.

“It was just engulfed in grey dark grey smoke,” said witness Michelle Bellog. “It was spinning and then it exploded.”

The flaming cabin landed in the middle of the road but miraculously, no drivers were hurt. The plane had just left Teterboro Airport and was heading to suburban Atlanta.

family Federal Investigators Say Icing Factors Unknown In Fatal I 287 Plane Crash

Jeffrey Buckalew, Meriwether & Corinne Buckalew. (credit: Greenhill.com & Facebook)

The NTSB continues to investigate whether icing may have caused the crash. Ice can form even when ground temperatures are above freezing.  Tuesday’s Titan radar shows it was 44 degrees outside the plane as it took off from Teterboro at 10 a.m.

As it climbed above 3,000 feet, the temperature outside fell below freezing.  It continued up to 17,000 feet, where the air was just nine degrees.

In air traffic control tapes released Tuesday, a controller tells the pilot to keep an altitude of  10,000 as he headed southwest over northern New Jersey, warning the pilot about accumulations of ice particles known as rime in the clouds above.

“There are reports of moderate rime,” a controller says. “If it gets worse, let me know and when center takes your handoff I’ll climb you and maybe get you higher.”

“We’ll let you know what happens when we get in there,” the pilot responds. “And, yeah, if we could go straight through it, that’s no problem for us.”

Investigators said the plane did not have a black box, but did have a GPS. Officials were looking for that Wednesday as well as any other devices that could lead to clues as to why the plane went down.

Both Buckalew and Chawla worked at the  investment banking firm Greenhill & Co. Buckalew was the registered owner of the plane and had a pilot’s license.

rakesh chawla Federal Investigators Say Icing Factors Unknown In Fatal I 287 Plane Crash

Rakesh Chawla (credit: Greenhill.com)

They are being remembered as the kind of people who said “hello” to their neighbors and doted on their children.

“They were family people who cared, that loved my dog and held their children,” said neighbor Arthur Yellin. “They were real parents.”

Chawla is survived by his wife and three young daughters.  He was supposed to be home from the business trip with Buckalew at the Atlanta headquarters of Greenhill. Chawla’s parents met briefly with CBS 2 outside their son’s Park Avenue apartment before feeling too distraught to go on.

A dog that was on board the plane also was killed.

Please share your thoughts below…

Comments

One Comment

  1. ICE WAS NOT A FACTOR says:

    This is my opinion, I am an Airline pilot, Flight instructor, and an aircraft mechanic with several degrees, including masters degrees related to Aviation.
    Again My opinion.
    Icing was reported by the NWS for Pilots as slight at best (slight rime), that plane was designed to Easily fly through that, but light rime can build up, it will take time to, like anywhere from 10 minutes to a half hour if the conditions were worsening, which they were not. In the worst case with regard to Icing, the aircraft had boots, which pop off the ice, but that is usually moderate to severe, or at best light to moderate clear ice, not rime ice. bottom line ICE WAS NOT A FACTOR. Start adding stuff like pieces of the plane falling off, or, what the industry calls mid air break up, (albeit, it is a French made plane, but planes need huge magnitudes of load and shear to cause this situation, and neither were present) and, well,….you might not like what you hear but,….with this guy having a high paying cake job, coupled with some aspects of human nature, and maybe you have a situation caused by another reason , quite possibly not related to, and outside of aviation

  2. Pilot with opinion says:

    This is my opinion, I am an Airline pilot, Flight instructor, and an aircraft mechanic with several degrees, including masters degrees related to Aviation.
    Again My opinion.
    Icing was reported by the NWS for Pilots as slight at best (slight rime), that plane was designed to Easily fly through that, but light rime can build up, it will take time to, like anywhere from 10 minutes to a half hour if the conditions were worsening, which they were not. In the worst case with regard to Icing, the aircraft had boots, which pop off the ice, but that is usually moderate to severe, or at best light to moderate clear ice, not rime ice. bottom line ICE WAS NOT A FACTOR. Start adding stuff like pieces of the plane falling off, or, what the industry calls mid air break up, (albeit, it is a French made plane, but planes need huge magnitudes of load and shear to cause this situation, and neither were present) and, well,….you might not like what you hear but,….with this guy having a high paying cake job, coupled with some aspects of human nature, and maybe you have a situation caused by another reason , quite possibly not related to, and outside of aviation

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  4. boxcar66 says:

    these 1%ers think they can do as they please. Atc said stay at 10,000 feet, did he listen? nope he kept climbing through 17,000 feet.. he learned the hard way not to mess with mother nature..or as bruce springsteen might say” i’m going down..down..down..”

  5. sean says:

    Holy shi*&*^ you guys are so fuc383d up with you comments idiots

    1. Arss Keecker says:

      It is our professional opinion that you should just go blow it out your ass.

  6. Derek says:

    Doesn’t anyone know how to use a map? It happened in Morris Township, not Harding Township. That’s why all the police cars & fire trucks & rescue squad says Morris Township, and why the press conferences are being held at Morris Township’s municipal building.

  7. Wilbur N. Orville Rite says:

    In our professional opinion, it appears that gravity played a major role in the downing of this aircraft.

  8. Guy J. says:

    Seems like a nice, decent family. It breaks my heart to think what horror the family – especially the kids, suffered in their last seconds. Peace and condolences to their friends and relatives.

    1. Zucky Maddoff says:

      It said in the newspaper that a Socata airplane is a very special and very expensive [20 year-old used ones go for over $1 miillion] personal aircraft that because they have a pressurized cabin can fly at the same altitude as commercial aircraft which is 5 to 6 miles up. This guy ONLY became a licensed pilot in 2010, there is no way in hell he had enough experience to fly this type of aircraft, at that altitude. He did same thing as JFK Jr., he was rich enought to afford airplane, but not nearly experienced to actually fly it.

  9. Bruce Crystal says:

    SOUNDS LIKE A BUNCH OF OCCUPY LOSERS ,
    HOW TRAGIC TO LOSE A WHOLE FAMILY LIKE THIS

    1. paula says:

      Wow. I am astounded at the utter ignorance that shows through these replies. First off, my condolences to the families who lost loved ones in this accident. Secondly, if you don’t have a nice thing to say, why say anything at all? It is a sad reflection from some of the citizens of this country.

      1. Schmellma Arss says:

        You tell him Paula, make him smell your butt.

        1. Paula says:

          I should have mentioned that I am a private pilot as well.

  10. Realistically speaking says:

    Maybe the investigators should also look into a report about much bigger planes supposedly crashing into the Pentagon and a rural field in Pennsylvania. Still no evidence though it happened 10 years ago. Hmmm. Guess we’ll see those planes by the time Elvis performs another live concert. And too bad Marilyn Monroe wasn’t still alive. I think she would have looked great alongside him even in their golden years. Too bad she committed “suicide”.

    1. bullett says:

      Marilyn’s death was made to look like a suicide, which it wasn’t.

      now, as for the plane, yes; it will come out that icing was the cause of the crash.

  11. Soap says:

    Thanks Pilot. Took me 2 hrs to get through that traffic yesterday and 1 this morning. Next time, crash in Long Island or something. Very sad for the kids though. I have kids.

  12. Corzine McMaddoff says:

    A dog was killed in this small aircraft disaster. That’s what I’m deeply upset about. A dog that cannot be replaced.

    1. Willie says:

      Yeah, too bad. Should have left the dog at home. Sure they had enough money for a sitter.

  13. nathan says:

    Well that’s a start on the 1% problem.

  14. DaEmph says:

    Who cares, stuff happens. Things happen to a lot of people less fortunate and it doesn’t get reported so care about this?

    MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  15. michaelfury says:

    “Investigators said the plane did not have a black box”

    http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2008/08/16/black-box/

Comments are closed.

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