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Children among 4 killed when plane crashes into Connecticut houses

By Greg Botelho, CNN
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Sun August 11, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Authorities identify the four people killed, including three minors
  • The plane struck a Connecticut house upside down Friday, an NTSB official says
  • The pilot did not indicate any problems before the crash, an NTSB official says

(CNN) -- Four people -- including a 1-year-old child -- were killed when a turboprop plane slammed into a neighborhood in East Haven, Connecticut, authorities said Saturday.

The chief medical examiner's office in nearby Farmington identified those killed as William Henningsgaard, 54, and Maxwell Henningsgaard, 17, both of Medina, Washington; and Sade Brantley, 13, and Madisyn Mitchell, 1, both of East Haven.

Earlier, Blair Henningsgaard told CNN he believed his brother Bill and Bill's son were on board.

East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. had also said two children, ages 13 and 1, were in a house during the crash and were presumed dead.

The other damaged house was unoccupied.

The Rockwell International Turbo Commander 690B was registered to Bill Henningsgaard, who had worked for Microsoft for 14 years including as vice president of sales for the western United States, Australia and New Zealand.

It took off from New Jersey's Teterboro Airport on Friday morning and crashed while approaching the southern Connecticut airport around 11:25 a.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The pilot didn't indicate any problems before the aircraft slammed upside down into the neighborhood Friday, a federal investigator said Saturday.

The pilot -- who had a certificate allowing him to fly the multi-engine plane -- told the control tower that yes, he could see the runway, and didn't hint at an emergency before transmissions suddenly cut off, National Transportation Safety Board investigator Patrick Murray said. It was raining at the time, though Murray did not say whether it's been determined if weather played a role.

"We don't have any preliminary indication that anything was wrong with that plane," Murray said.

What they do believe is that the aircraft came in inverted and nose down at a 60- to 70-degree angle when it crashed into the side of a home about a half-mile from Tweed New Haven Airport. Before that impact, the plane approached at allowable altitude level for landing in that area, the investigator said.

Murray stressed there's still much more to be done, including ideally piecing the aircraft back together and looking for on-board equipment that may provide telling details such as speed and altitude.

The fuselage entered one of the homes, according to Malloy. The right wing of the airplane could be seen in the smoldering wreckage of one house, and the left wing was in another house.

Video from CNN affiliate WTNH showed smoke rising from a heavily damaged house in East Haven, and what appeared to be the tail of a plane nearby.

Fire consumed both houses, initially preventing firefighters from searching for victims, East Haven Fire Chief Douglas Jackson said Friday.

Maturo said the children were in one house with their mother when the plane struck shortly before 11:30 a.m. The mother escaped, he said.

"It's ... total devastation in the back of the home," Maturo said.

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CNN's AnneClaire Stapleton, Aaron Cooper, Lauren Russell, Jason Hanna, Chelsea J. Carter, Kevin Conlon and Cristy Lenz contributed to this report.

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