F.B.I to determine if plane was crashed on purpose

Share Story

The F.B.I. is investigating whether the crash of a small plane in East Hartford, Conn., that killed a passenger on Tuesday was intentional, according to four federal law enforcement officials.

The pilot, who survived the crash, told investigators that it was not an accident. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was continuing.

Officials identified the passenger as Feras M. Freitekh, 28. Public records show he had lived in Orland Hills, Ill., about 35 miles southwest of Chicago. Federal Aviation Administration records show he was issued a private pilot certificate on May 29, 2015, and was certified to fly a single-engine plane.

The F.A.A. said the Piper PA 34 crashed around 3:40 p.m. on Main Street as it was on a final approach to Hartford-Brainard Airport in Hartford. Mayor Marcia Leclerc of East Hartford said the plane took off from a flight school at the airport.

The police chief of East Hartford, Scott M. Sansom, said during a news conference that the police sought the help of the Federal Bureau of Investigation because the plane went down near a Pratt & Whitney factory on Main Street, which he described as being “critical infrastructure.”

The company, which has its headquarters in East Hartford, is a global manufacturer of jet engines for commercial, military and general aviation aircraft.

Ray Hernandez, a spokesman for the company, said in an email on Tuesday that the company was aware of the crash and that it did “not appear at this time that any Pratt & Whitney employees or contractors were involved.”

The mayor said the pilot, who was interviewed by detectives, was taken to Bridgeport Hospital with serious burns.

Two people who were in a minivan near the crash had minor injuries and were taken to a hospital, the police chief said.

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration were at the site on Tuesday, and members of the National Transportation Safety Board were expected to arrive on Wednesday morning, he added.

Share Story