NTSB: Hanscom flight crashed 49 seconds into takeoff, never left ground

BEDFORD, MA - JUNE 2: The scene of the Hanscom Field plane crash. The National Transportation Safety Board has taken over the investigation into a plane crash that killed 7 people Saturday, at Hanscom Field. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BEDFORD, MA – JUNE 2: The scene of the Hanscom Field plane crash. The National Transportation Safety Board has taken over the investigation into a plane crash that killed 7 people Saturday, at Hanscom Field. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Investigators do not yet know what caused a deadly plane crash at Hanscom Field on Saturday night, though data pulled from the private jet’s voice and data recorder show it crashed just 49 seconds after starting its ground roll.

The plane accelerated to about 190 miles per hour before braking and reversing thrust, according to National Transportation Safety Board Investigator Luke Schiada, who on Tuesday confirmed that the plane never got off the ground.

Schiada declined to say whether the new information indicated that the pilots may have tried to abort the flight.

“We’re not interpreting the information that the thrust reversers were deployed. … I don’t want to interpret what the actions are,” he said.

The cockpit voice recorder also captured the pilots making “comments concerning aircraft control,” Schiada said, though he declined to give details. The recording ended with the sound of the crash, which killed all seven on board.

Investigators Luke Schiada and Adam Huray make initial documentation of recorders recovered Monday night in Bedford, Mass. Photo: NTSB/Twitter
Investigators Luke Schiada and Adam Huray make initial documentation of recorders recovered Monday night in Bedford, Mass. Photo: NTSB/Twitter

Bedford police on Monday released emergency calls placed shortly after the private jet crashed and erupted into flames around 9:40 p.m. Saturday night.

One caller, a woman who sounded shaken, said she looked out of her window and “all of a sudden I see this huge dome.”

“It looked like the atomic bomb went off, and it was a mushroom cloud and fire was going everywhere,” she said.

Caller Mike Stephens told the 911 operator that he saw “a giant column of smoke and flames.”

Another woman said she heard a big boom that “shook the house.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.

Scouring the Wreckage

Luke Schiada, an NTSB senior air safety investigator, said earlier Monday that investigators were having trouble reaching the cock pit and flight data recorders due to the position of the wreckage.

“We have not been able to access a large portion of the aircraft because of where it came to rest,” Schiada said, adding that crews were setting up a crane “to be able to dig through material in the aircraft” that night.

Investigators said the plane went off Hascom’s runway, rolled down an embankment and settled in a gully about 2,000 feet away.

The Philadelphia Inquirer confirmed that its co-owner, Lewis Katz, 72, was among those killed.

On Sunday, three other passengers were identified as Anne B. Leeds, Marcella M. Dalsey and Susan K. Asbell, all friends of Katz’s from South New Jersey.

Middlesex County prosecutors on Monday identified James McDowell, 51, of Georgetown, Del, as the pilot, and Bauke “Mike” de Vries, 45, of Marlton, New Jersey as the co-pilot.

Teresa Ann Benhoff, 48, of Easton, Md was identified as the flight attendant.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS



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