Aviation News

December 20, 2011

Five People Killed as Small Plane Crashes Onto Busy New Jersey Interstate [UPDATED]

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[UPDATED BELOW]

A small plane crashed onto I-287 in Harding, New Jersey shortly after takeoff from Teterboro Airport on Tuesday morning. New Jersey State Police are reporting that as many as three people may have been killed.

UPDATE: The FAA confirms a total of five people were killed: Three adults and two children, and a dog.

Crash scene on I-287 in Morris Township, NJ

Crash scene on I-287 in Morris Township, NJ. (Photo by Ed Murray/Star-Ledger)

Aerial video of the crash site shows that the plane apparently crashed onto the road in the lane closest to the median and skidded into a wooded area. It was completely destroyed.

The FAA has confirmed the plane was a Socata TBM 700, registered N731CA. According to FAA records, the plane was built in 2005 and registered to Cool Stream Media, based in New York City. The TBM 700 is a single-engine aircraft capable of seating up to six people.

FAA spokesman Jim Peters says the plane was in contact with New York Center air traffic controllers when it lost radio and radar contact.

An eyewitness told the Newark Star-Ledger that the right wing appeared to be breaking off as the plane went down. Another witness said the plane appeared to be “doing tricks” before it crashed.

The flight had departed from Teterboro Airport enroute to Dekalb-Peachtree Airport in Atlanta.

UPDATE: The crash victims have been identified as Jeffrey Buckalew, his wife Corinne Buckalew, their children Jackson and Meriwether, and Jeffrey’s business colleague, Rakesh Chawla. Mr. Buckalew and Mr. Chawla were both managing directors at Greenhill & Co., a New York-based investment banking firm. Among other deals, Buckalew was reported in 2008 to have been an advisor to Delta Air Lines on its merger with Northwest Airlines.