4 dead in small plane crash in suburb north of NYC

NEW YORK (AP) — A small plane crashed about a mile from a suburban airport on Saturday, bursting into flames and killing all four people on board.

The plane crashed shortly after departure from Westchester County Airport in Armonk, north of New York City, authorities said.

The Cessna 210 took off from the airport shortly after 1 p.m., bound for Montauk, about 100 miles east, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Holly Baker said.

Soon after, the plane’s pilot radioed to advise he was returning to the airport. But, Baker said, the plane plummeted to the ground in Armonk before reaching the runway and exploded into flames.

The plane was based at Panorama Flight Service, in White Plains, airport spokesman Steve Ferguson said in a statement.

The company markets flight training, rentals and maintenance service at the airport. It served basically as a garage for the plane when it wasn’t flying, company president Gene Condreras said by telephone. He said the pilot “was a longtime customer,” but he declined to identify him.

The six-seat, single-engine aircraft was registered to Wein-Air Aviation Ltd., of Wilmington, Del., according to the FAA website. There was no phone number listed for the company.

The plane went down in the woods about 1,000 feet from an office building belonging to an insurance company, Armonk fire Chief Luci Labriola-Cuffe said.

The plane was in a “couple pieces” and was on fire when crews from local fire departments arrived, she said.

“It was a fire that was pretty intense initially because of the jet fuel,” she said.

The plane crashed on New York City-owned watershed land, which was unaffected by the crash, said Farrell Sklerov, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Environmental Conservation. DEP’s police responded to the crash, he said.

The FAA said that the National Transportation Safety Board was sending investigators to look into the crash.

The crash victims weren’t immediately identified, and their remains were taken to the Westchester medical examiner’s office for autopsies.

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