N.J. small plane crash kills five

by nph | December 21st, 2011

December 21, 2011

On Tuesday in Morris Township, New Jersey, a high-performance Socata TBM-700 turboprop plane spun out of control and crashed in a fireball on a busy highway, killing all five people aboard and narrowly missing dozens of vehicles speeding by, reports CBS News.

It was a normal takeoff with a routine conversation with air traffic controllers about potential icing conditions. The small plane was carrying two investment bankers, a 36-year-old man, and a 45-year-old man (the pilot) with his wife and two of his children.

Minutes before the crash, an audio recording offers some early clues as to the cause of the crash.

As a controller warned the pilot about the conditions in the clouds above, he was told to maintain an altitude of 10,000 feet  over New Jersey.

“There are reports of  [rough ice accumulation]. . . . If it gets worse, let me know,” one controller said.

The pilot responded: “We’ll let you know what happens when we get in there.”

Soon after that exchange, the plane crashed.

When temperatures are near freezing and when there is visible moisture, ice can form on airplanes, adding weight to the plane and interrupting the flow of air over the wings. A plane can lose so much lift that it falls out of the sky.

Was this a plane crash caused by weather or by human error–or by both?

If you or someone you know has had his or her safety compromised on a commercial or private aircraft, the aviation lawyers at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy may be able to help.