Ex-Microsoft Exec, Son Believed Dead in Conn. Crash

Just before noon Friday, the multi-engine, propeller-driven plane struck two small homes near Tweed New Haven Airport

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    NEWSLETTERS

    National Transportation Safety Board
    The small airplane has crashed into two houses on Charter Oak Avenue in East Haven.

    A former Microsoft executive and his teenage son are presumed dead after their small plane crashed into a residential neighborhood a few blocks from an airport while trying to land, setting fire to two houses and killing as many as four other people, the man's brother and authorities said.

    Bill Henningsgaard and his teenage son, Maxwell, were traveling the East Coast to visit colleges, and Connecticut was part of the itinerary, said Blair Henningsgaard, the city attorney in Astoria, Ore.

    Pilot of Deadly Connecticut Plane Crash Survived Previous Crash

    [NY] Pilot of Deadly Connecticut Plane Crash Survived Previous Crash
    Pilot Bill Henningsgaard survived a plane crash over the Washington coast three years before Friday's tragedy. Jonathan Vigliotti reports (Published Saturday, Aug 10, 2013)

    Just before noon Friday, the multi-engine, propeller-driven plane struck two small homes near Tweed New Haven Airport. The aircraft's left wing lodged in one house and its right wing in the other.

    The family learned it was Bill Henningsgaard's plane through the tail number, his brother said.

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    [HAR] NTSB Shares Early Details on East Haven Plane Crash
    The NTSB gives details about the plane crash in East Haven as their investigation begins. NBC Connecticut's Josh Chapin was in East Haven. (Published Friday, Aug 9, 2013)

    Bill Henningsgaard was a member of Seattle-based Social Venture Partners, a foundation that helps build up communities. The foundation extended its condolences to his wife and two daughters.

    "There are hundreds of people that have a story about Bill — when he went the extra mile, when he knew just the right thing to say, how he would never give up. He was truly all-in for this community, heart, mind and soul," the foundation wrote Friday in a post on its website

    Neighbors React To Plane Crash

    [HAR] Neighbors React To Plane Crash
    Neighbors describe what they saw and say they knew it would happen one day (Published Friday, Aug 9, 2013)

    Late Friday, officials from a number of agencies were still at the scene trying to determine how many people had been killed. Officials said the total was four to six. The victims of the crash have not been identified.

    "We haven't recovered anybody at this point, and we presume there is going to be a very bad outcome," East Haven fire Chief Douglas Jackson said Friday.

    National Transportation Safety Board investigator Robert Gretz said at a news conference Friday night there were casualty reports of two or three people in the plane and two or three people in one of the homes, including two children, ages 1 and 13. He said the reports were unconfirmed and that local and state authorities were at the scene looking for victims.

    Hours after the crash, Malloy said rescuers had spotted two bodies, including one of an adult but hadn't recovered them. The plane's fuselage had entered one of the houses, and the recovery effort was focusing on the home's basement, he said.

    Two Children, Pilot Unaccounted for After Crash

    [HAR] Two Children, Pilot Unaccounted for After Crash
    A small plane struck two houses on Charter Oak Avenue in East Hartford this morning. Two children and the pilot have not been found. (Published Friday, Aug 9, 2013)

    Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. said later that the houses were still unstable and crews had not completed a full search.

    The 10-seater plane, a Rockwell International Turbo Commander 690B, flew out of Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and crashed at 11:25 a.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said.

    Governor Said They Have Visuals of 2 Bodies After Crash

    [HAR] Governor Said They  Have Visuals of 2 Bodies After Crash
    How many victims there are in the East Haven plane crash is not yet known, according to Gov. Dannel Malloy. (Published Friday, Aug 9, 2013)

    Tweed's airport manager, Lori Hoffman-Soares, said the pilot had been in communication with air traffic control and hadn't issued any distress calls.

    "All we know is that it missed the approach and continued on," she said.

    A neighbor, David Esposito, said he heard a loud noise and then a thump: "No engine noise, nothing."

    "A woman was screaming her kids were in there," he said.

    Esposito, a retired teacher, said he ran into the upstairs of the house, where the woman believed her children were, but couldn't find them after frantically searching a crib and closets. He returned downstairs to search some more, but he dragged the woman out when the flames became too strong.

    Bill Henningsgaard was involved in another plane crash years a few years ago.

    In April 2009, he was flying a small plane from Astoria to Seattle when the engine quit and he tried to glide back to the airport. As he wrote 10 days later on a blog post, the plane crashed into the Columbia River after a harrowing five-minute descent. He and his passenger — his then-84-year-old mother, a former Astoria mayor — climbed out on a wing and were rescued by a boat as the plane began to sink.

    Henningsgaard was a longtime board member at Youth Eastside Services, a Bellevue, Wash.-based agency that provides counseling and substance-abuse treatment, and led the organization's $10.7 million fundraising campaign for its new headquarters, which opened in 2008.

    A vigil for the victims of the crash is planned for Saturday night at Margaret Tucker Park.

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