Witness saw plane upside down before crash - KCTV5

Witness saw plane upside down before crash

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EAST HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -

A witness to the East Haven plane crash reported that it was upside down, speeding nose-first toward the ground, before it slammed into two homes on Charter Oak Avenue.

According to a preliminary report released by the National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday, the flight left Teterboro Airport in New Jersey around 10:49 a.m. on a path to Tweed-New Haven Airport.

At 11:19 a.m. the pilot, identified as William Henningsgaard, of Medina, WA contacted the air traffic control tower to inform them he was entering a "left downwind" to land on runway 20. The air traffic controllers cleared him to land.

While he was circling runway 20, the air traffic controller asked Henningsgaard to maintain visual contact with the airport, and he confirmed "622 is in visual contact now."

Less than a minute later the air traffic controller could be heard yelling "622," but no further communication was made with the plane.

The report showed the last radar target was about .7 miles from the runway, and was flying at 800 feet.

"Right now based on that report this looked like a typical landing situation for us at the airport," said Tweed Airport Director Tim Larson.

A student pilot witness was traveling on Interstate 95 when he looked to the right and saw the plane "inverted and traveling at a high rate of speed, nose-first, toward the ground."

He said he stopped at a local business and found out the plane crashed.

The plane was located upside down in the basement of one of the homes. The report said the cockpit, left engine and forward two-thirds of the fuselage were located in the basement.

The left wing was located on the back porch of the home, the right wing hit the second home, and the right engine was found in between both of the homes.

Henningsgard's son Maxwell was with him on the plane and was also killed when it crashed.

Sade Brantley, 13, and her 1-year-old sister, Madisyn Mitchell were both killed inside the home.

A person two doors down from where the plane crashed into the two homes "saw the airplane descending about 90 degrees right side down into the homes."

The report does not shed any light on what specifically caused the crash that could be close to a year away.

The uncle of Sade and Madisyn told Eyewitness News Tuesday, hey hope the final report helps them figure out what happened. Tweed Airport officials also wants that information.

"It's a really bad accident with just a tragic, tragic ending and our heart goes out to the families involved," Larson said.

The preliminary report also documented the weather. The wind was 12 knots gusting to 19 with 9 miles of visibility. Airport officials say those conditions are not considered dangerous for landing.

To read the full report, click here.

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