(Update) NTSB on plane crash that killed Lewis Katz: Jet never went airborne

A Massachusetts State Police trooper stands guard at Hanscom Airfield after a fatal crash. Photo: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro
A Massachusetts State Police trooper stands guard at Hanscom Airfield after a fatal crash. Photo: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of a fiery plane crash that killed seven, including Philadelphia media mogul Lewis Katz, when a private jet burst into flames while attempting to take off from a small airfield near Boston Saturday night.

Investigators said the Gulfstream IV burst into flames around 9:40 p.m., though according to a witness account, the plane never became airborne.

Senior NTSB Air Safety Investigator Luke Schiada said at a press conference Sunday afternoon that he did not want to speculate on what caused the fatal crash.

“At this point we’re just trying to gather as much factual information as we can,” Schiada said.

Investigators know that the plane rolled off the paved runway and onto a patch of grass before striking an antenna and a fence. The fireball went down and embankment and settled in a gully about 2,000 feet from the runway.


Click map to see bigger
Schiada said there was a “significant post craft fire.”

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

“We’ve lost a great friend,” Inquirer editor Bill Marimow said in a statement to the newspaper.

Katz also previously owned the New Jersey Devils and the New Jersey Nets.

Family members told the AP that the wife of a New Jersey borough commissioner is among those killed.

Longport Commissioner James P. Leeds Sr. said his 74-year-old wife, Anne, was on the plane as a guest of Katz. Leeds says he got a text from his wife from the plane at 9:36 p.m., four minutes before the crash.

Media accounts identified the two other passengers Marcella Dalsey and Susan K. Asbell.

The names of the three crew members were still not known.

Schiada said at 3 p.m. that investigators were in the process of extracting the bodies from the wreckage.

At this point, the crash appears accidental. Investigators will comb through the wreckage, interview witnesses, review surveillance video and flight data recorder. They will also examine factors such as weather, and the aircraft systems and structure.

There was no unusual air traffic control communication before the crash, Schiada said.

When asked about the aircraft’s safety history, Schiada said investigators “don’t know of any previous incidences.”

Hanscom Air Field, located in Bedford, Mass. about 20 miles northwest of Boston, is a joint military and civilian facility also used for charter flights.

The group was en route to Atlantic City in New Jersey, Schiada said.

Hanscom plane crash Boston Lewis Katz
A Massachusetts State Trooper at Hanscom Airfield. Photo: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

Hanscom Field was closed on Saturday night to remove debris and investigate the crash. One of its runways was open by Sunday afternoon. Investigators are expected to be at the crash site for the next few days, Schiada said.

Witnesses recounted seeing a fireball and feeling the blast of the explosion shake their homes.

Jeff Patterson told The Boston Globe he “saw a fireball about 60 feet in the air and suspected the worst for those aboard the plane.”

“I heard a big boom, and I thought at the time that someone was trying to break into my house because it shook it,” said Patterson’s son, 14-year-old Jared Patterson. “I thought someone was like banging on the door trying to get in.”

Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS
Follow Metro Philadelphia on Twitter: @MetroPhilly


Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.


Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…


OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…


MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.


Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."


'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.


'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."


TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.


Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.


Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.


Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”


Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.


Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.


Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…


NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.


The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.