November 23, 2020

Five killed in plane crash on major NJ highway

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HARDING, N.J. (AP) — A small plane headed for Georgia crashed Tuesday on one of the New York City area’s busiest highways, spiraling out of control and losing a section of the aircraft before hitting the wooded median strip and exploding, sending debris across the roadway. All five people aboard were killed, but no one on the ground was injured.

The New York investment banking firm Greenhill & Co. said two of its managing directors, 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.

Buckalew was the registered owner of the single-engine plane and had a pilot’s license.

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.

Helicopter footage from News 12 New Jersey showed charred wreckage stretching across the median and the highway, a heavily used route that wraps around the northern and western edges of the New York City area. A huge ball of charred metal sat in the middle of the northbound lanes. Both sides of the highway were shut down.

Law enforcement officials and firefighters searched the woods in the median Tuesday afternoon.

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