Survivor Claims Deadly Connecticut Plane Crash was Intentional, FBI Investigating

The survivor of a small plane crash that killed a Jordanian national in Connecticut claimed it was not an accident, the mayor of East Hartford announced Wednesday, as police said they asked the FBI to assist with the investigation.

The crash of the twin-engine Piper PA-34 Seneca Tuesday afternoon killed the passenger. The pilot was in critical condition at Bridgeport Hospital but was able to speak to detectives, officials said.

The New York Times and The Hartford Courant identified the plane’s passenger — the man who died — as 28-year-old Feras Freitekh. He entered the U.S. in 2012 on an M1 visa for flight school and at some point he also aquired an F1 visa for language school, CBS News reported. Freitekh was issued a pilot’s license in May 2015 and was certified to fly a single-engine plane.

The crash occurred close to jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney’s corporate headquarters. Police Chief Scott Sansom called the company “critical infrastructure.”

The plane hit a utility pole and wires in East Hartford, Conn., around 3:40 p.m. on Tuesday, exploding into a fireball and knocking out power for hundreds of people. The FAA said the plane was on final approach to Brainard Airport in Hartford at the time of the crash.

East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the survivor told local detectives the crash was not an accident, but she cautioned that the information had not been confirmed.

“As far as the occupants of the plane, [the pilot] is expected to survive,” East Hartford Police Lt. Josh Litwin told CBS News. “He is cooperating with investigators. He’s actually speaking with detectives as part of this investigation as ongoing.”

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are also involved in the investigation.

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