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FBI Investigates Crash of Small Plane in Connecticut

  • VOA News

The remains of a small plane rest along a street in East Hartford, Conn., Oct. 12, 2016, a day following the plane's crash. The FBI is taking over as lead investigator of the crash because of indications that it might have been a criminal act, safety officials said.

The remains of a small plane rest along a street in East Hartford, Conn., Oct. 12, 2016, a day following the plane's crash. The FBI is taking over as lead investigator of the crash because of indications that it might have been a criminal act, safety officials said.

The FBI on Wednesday began investigating an apparently intentional plane crash in the state of Connecticut, in which a student pilot was killed and his instructor was badly injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board said its initial investigation showed the crash Tuesday was the result of deliberate action. The NTSB turned the case over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The small, twin-engine plane crashed in flames on a busy street in East Hartford, near the headquarters of Pratt and Whitney, a company that builds airplane engines, about 118 miles (190 kilometers) north of New York City.

The student pilot, Feras Freitekh, a Jordanian national, died in the crash. Flight instructor Arian Prevalla suffered critical burns but survived.

Media accounts said Freitekh was frustrated and unwilling to continue his aviation studies, but was being pressured to do so by his family. The instructor is said to have told authorities there was an altercation in the cockpit in which it became clear the young man wanted to crash the plane, but that he could not prevent the aircraft from going down.

The plane that crashed, a Piper PA-34, had dual controls. Aviation experts quoted by CNN television said the flight instructor could not have disabled his student's controls, so if events unfolded as Prevalla reputedly told authorities, it would have been "an impossible situation."

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