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Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 18 January 2022
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Video: Devastation on US highway after plane crash kills five

A mother, father and two children were aboard the light aircraft that crashed near New York, as well as another man.

A piece of the plane hangs from a tree near the scene of the crash
A piece of the plane hangs from a tree near the scene of the crash
Image: AP Photo/Joe Epstein

FIVE PEOPLE WERE killed today when a light aircraft crashed on a major highway near New York.

The plane spiralled out of control before breaking up, hitting the wooded central reservation and spreading wreckage across the road. All the people aboard were killed, but nobody on the ground was injured.

Jeffrey Buckalew, 45, and Rakesh Chawla, 36, as well as Buckalew’s wife and two children, were on the plane that crashed on Interstate 287, according to New York investment banking firm Greenhill & Co where Bucklew and Chawla were managing directors.

Buckalew was the registered owner of the single-engine plane and had a pilot’s license. Federal investigators said the pilot had discussed ice problems with controllers just before the plane went down but were unsure what role, if any, icing played in the crash.

Wreckage was scattered over at least a half-mile-wide area, with a section found lodged in a tree of a home about a quarter-mile away, near a highway entrance ramp.

Chris Covello of Rockaway Township said he saw the plane spin out of control from the car dealership where he works in Morristown, near the site of the crash.

“It was like the plane was doing tricks or something, twirling and flipping. It started going straight down. I thought any second they were going to pull up. But then the wing came off and they went straight down,” he said.

David Williamson, 19, was doing maintenance at a golf course in Morristown when he spotted a plane in trouble, with smoke coming off both sides of the wings.

“It was really scary,” he said.

When the plane crashed, he said, it sent up a “huge plume of thick black smoke.”

Authorities said a dog aboard the plane was also killed.

- Samantha Henry

(Video: AssociatedPress)

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