Aviation officials have recovered the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder from the private plane that crashed at Hanscom Field Saturday night, the National Transportation Safety Board tweeted Monday.
“We’re still at the very beginning stages of the investigation,” the National Transportation Saftey Board lead investigator Luke Schiada told reporters Sunday afternoon.
The crash killed all seven people who were on board.
Schiada said responders were focused on removing remains from the wreckage and locating the plane’s cockpit recorders. Investigators will also consult surveillance footage and interview witnesses as the week continues.
According to an airport employee who spoke to NTSB investigators, the Gulfstream IV aircraft never left the ground, Schiada said. Preliminary findings indicate the plane rolled off the runway onto the grass around 9:40 p.m., hit a nearby antenna, and ran through a chain-link fence before finally coming to rest in a nearby gully.
Schiada said there was “no reason to suggest” foul play, but that the possibility had not been definitively ruled out.
While officials have not yet released the names of all the plane’s passengers, some deaths have been confirmed.
Among those on the plane were two members of the flight crew, a cabin crewmember and four passengers.
In a press conference Monday afternoon, officials identified the chief pilot as James McDowell, of Georgetown, Del. His co-pilot was Bauke “Mike” de Vries, 45, of Marlton, N.J., and the flight attendant was Teresa Benhoff, 48, of Easton, Md.
Lewis Katz, 72, co-owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer, was also among those killed, according to the AP. Katz and H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest won a private bid for the Philadelphia Inquirer and its parent company for $88 million on May 27.
Katz had flown up to attend Concord River Institute’s spring fundraiser Saturday and was returning home when the plane crashed, WBZ NewsRadio1030 reports. According to The Boston Globe, the event was held at the home of historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and her husband, Richard Goodwin.
“He was a force of nature,” Doris Kerns Goodwin said. “I have lost a great friend.”
In a written statement, Katz’s children said their father, “never forgot where and how he grew up, and he worked tirelessly to support his community in countless ways that were seen and unseen.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called Katz a “trusted friend and a “visionary businessman.”
According to Philadelphia Magazine, Katz’s family has immediately appointed his son Drew to replace his father on the newspapers’ governing board.
Anne Leeds, 74, the wife of Longport, N.J., Commissioner James P. Leeds, was also killed in the crash, The Press of Atlantic City reports.
Ex-Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell said Katz had invited him on the flight, but had another commitment.
We’ll update the story with more information on victims when it becomes available.
Locals report loud explosions:
Tara Harding, who was staying at the Quality Inn in Bedford Saturday night, heard the explosion and saw the plane burst into flames. Harding told Boston.com she immediately called 911 to report the crash.
“When we originally heard it, it was so loud. I thought it was closer than it was,” Harding said. “My 4-year-old son was even startled by the noise.”
“We were panicked, because we thought ‘what could we do other than call 911,’” said Harding.
Harding said she told the 911 dispatcher that the plane sounded like it was descending before bursting into flames.
”It sounded like the plane was shutting down,” said Harding. “like that engine-failure sound you hear in movies.”
Bedford officials said Sunday the town’s water supply, a majority of which comes from the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority system, has not been affected and is safe for residents to drink.