The two men killed in a small plane crash near Westchester County Airport Thursday evening have been identified, as federal authorities continue to investigate how the plane came down nearly 30 minutes after taking off from a New York City airport.
The single-engine plane, an A36 Beechcraft Bonanza, took off from JFK Airport just before 5 p.m. and was en route to Cuyahoga County Airport in Richmond Heights, Ohio, the FAA said. The pilot reported having low oil pressure at 5:25 p.m., and then reported engine problems as the plane was about a mile from the Westchester airport.
""Do you have engine power right now? Are you able to maintain altitude?" an air traffic controller asked the pilot.
"No, the engine is overriding… Mayday, mayday, mayday," came the response.
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Just minutes later, the airport in White Plains lost contact with the aircraft.
The plane holds the capacity for six people, but only two were on board when it came down. The pilot, Boruch Taub, and its sole passenger, Binyamin Chafetz, were eventually located along with the aircraft after an exhaustive search. Both men died in the crash, county officials said.
The focus of the search was near the northern tip of Rye Lake, on Cooley Hill Road in Armonk. The plane was found in trees near the airport.
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The tail number for the aircraft traces back to T&G Flying Club in Ohio.
"As the plane was traveling, it was losing altitude because of the malfunction, or whatever is ultimately determined to be the reason, and the pilot recognized that he had only a handful of minutes to being the plane to a safe landing. He was unable to do that," George Latimer, Westchester county executive, said.
Search efforts Thursday were made more difficult by the day's weather, which had dropped near continuous rain on the region. Officials said the use of drones typically needed in such a recovery operation was not possible.
It was not immediately clear what caused the crash. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will investigate. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide any updates.