The deadly crash of a small plane that struck a utility pole near the Connecticut River in East Hartford appears to have been intentional, according to investigators and the surviving witness.
In a statement Tuesday afternoon, the National Transportation Safety Board announced it had turned over the investigation of the crash to the FBI because their probe so far “indicates the crash is the result of an intentional act.”
Police said there were two sets of controls aboard a small plane that crashed in Connecticut with a flight instructor and student on board, killing one of them.
The instructor pilot survived, but remains hospitalized with serious burns. Two people in a minivan were also taken to a hospital with minor injuries.
East Hartford police Lt. Joshua Litwin told reporters Wednesday that he didn’t know who was controlling the plane when it crashed on a road.
East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc said Wednesday that the survivor of the crash near a military jet-engine manufacturer told authorities that it was intentional. Leclerc cautioned that the information has not been confirmed.
East Hartford police asked the FBI to assist the investigation because it happened near Pratt & Whitney, which makes military and commercial jet engines. Chief Scott Sansom called the jet engine maker “critical infrastructure.”
“The path that the plane took could have been much worse. So we’re very fortunate in that sense,” Sansom said.
One of the men on the plane, Feras M. Freitekh, is a Jordanian national who first entered the U.S. in 2012 on a temporary student M1 visa to fulfill a course of study for flight school, CBS News has learned. At some point his status changed to anF1 visa, and he went to a language school in Toledo, Ohio. It then went back to an M1 visa.
The Hartford Courant reports that the Cessna took off from Hartford’s Brainard Airport on Tuesday with a student pilot and an instructor on board. It struck a utility pole in East Hartford and crashed around 4 p.m., bursting into flames.
The Piper PA 34 twin-engine plane crashed on Main Street in East Hartford at around 3:30 p.m., according to the deputy police chief. Main Street was shut down between Brown Street and Ensign Street. Drivers were being asked to avoid the area, CBS affiliate WFSB reports.
Police said Main Street will be closed between Willow Street Extension and Ensign Street until further notice.
Two people were in a nearby car when the plane crashed on Main Street, police said. Authorities said the car occupants were traumatized from the crash and were taken to the hospital. The car they were in was never hit by the plane.
Officials said the plane originated from a local flight school. The Federal Aviation Administration said the aircraft was on final approach to a runway at Brainard Airport.
On Tuesday evening, police said the surviving occupant of the plane is expected to survive. He is awake and speaking with investigators.
“As far as the occupants of the plane, he is expected to survive. He is cooperating with investigators he’s actually speaking with detectives as part of this investigation as ongoing,” said East Hartford Police Lt. Josh Litwin.
Fifteen years after 9/11 and the powers that be are still allowing Muslims to come into the U.S. for flight training. Another aspect of immigration policy that is wholly corrupted and must be halted.
Expect this story to change shortly to mental instability, prescription drugs, Islamophobia, pure coincidence, the survivor recants, never said it or can’t remember…or doesn’t survive. Anything but Islam.
Update: Nothing to see here, cousin says he’s not religious and governor warns citizens not to jump to conclusions. Run along.
A high-ranking local law enforcement official said Wednesday that the student pilot and instructor were arguing shortly before the crash, which killed the student and left the instructor injured.
Another source said the student pilot started flying the plane erratically and the instructor fought to gain control before the crash. The source said the student was distraught and feeling stressed over his poor performance at the flight academy.
Public records show Freitekh address as being in Orland Hills, Ill. since April 2013. He has a license to fly a single-engine plane. Federal Aviation Administration records show he was issued a private pilot certificate on May 29, 2015. On his Facebook page he spells his name, Rafael Majdi Feritekh.
Freitekh only received mail at the Orland Hills address and had never lived there, Orland Hills Police Chief Tom Scully said at a news conference Wednesday evening, according to the Chicago Tribune. His father also had not been to the Orland Hills address, Scully said
A man from Amman who identified himself as a cousin of Freitekh’s, contacted through Facebook, said Freitekh’s dream was to become a pilot, and that’s why he came to the United States.
“He was a good person, kind and helpful,” said the cousin, who did not want to be identified by name. “He wasn’t religious at all. He was open-minded.”
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy warned Wednesday that the public should not jump to conclusions about the reasons for the crash.
“As a nation, we have all had to adjust to a new reality,” Malloy told reporters at the Capitol. “When events such as this occur, we recognize that people almost automatically wonder if someone meant to do us harm. But we must exercise caution about jumping to conclusions before discovering and considering all of the facts.”
What new reality does Dannel Malloy want Americans to adjust to? Muslim immigrants that kill Americans? Another elected official failing to uphold his oath.
We’re told there are foreign Muslims in other flight schools across the U.S. including the Epic Flight Academy in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
Unrelated but also in CT yesterday, per the WSJ: