NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Fog may have played a role in the plane crash near Westchester County Airport that killed doctor and philanthropist Richard Rockefeller, the National Transportation Safety Board said.
According to the agency’s preliminary report, witnesses told the NTSB that the weather was “dark, rainy and foggy” the morning of the crash.
The 65-year-old Falmouth, Maine, resident died June 13 when his single-engine plane crashed shortly after takeoff about a half-mile away from the airport in Purchase. Rockefeller was the only person on board.
Visibility was so poor on the morning of the crash, that an air traffic controller said “he couldn’t tell,” whether Rockefeller’s plane had taken off, the report said.
The NTSB said Rockefeller’s plane was about 60 feet off the ground when it struck some trees and then crashed on a residential property in front of a horse stable.
When it went down, the aircraft broke up into pieces, which were strewn about the property with some parts lodged in the trees. No one else was hurt in the crash, officials said.
Rockefeller was a physician with Doctors without Borders and was on the board of Rockefeller University. A family spokesman said he had recently been working on a way to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in wounded war veterans.
He was the great-grandson of Standard Oil co-founder John D. Rockefeller and his father, David Rockefeller, is a prominent banker and philanthropist.
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