Seven people have died in an airplane crash that occurred on Saturday night. Lewis Katz, 72, who was the co-owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer was among the seven who were killed in the crash of the Gulfstream IV, a private plane. Katz’s death was confirmed by Bill Marimow, an editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer.
While taking off from the runway at Hanscom Field in Bedford, Massachusetts heading to Atlantic City, New Jersey around 9:40 p.m. on Saturday night, the plane erupted into flames and crashed. The plane was carrying four passengers and three crew members. The National Transportation Safety Board will be leading the investigation in finding the cause of the crash. They are scheduled to address the media with information later today.
Ed Freni, an aviation director for Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), which operates Hanscom Field, gave his condolences to the victims’ families and stated that the bodies have not yet been removed from the scene of the crash. The airport has been closed and Freni said that there is a possibility it will remain closed until the cause of the crash is determined.
Many local residents heard the plane crash that killed Lewis Katz. Jeff Patterson, 43, who lives near the runway, said the flames were about 60 feet high. His son, Jared, 14, said that the explosion from the crash caused their house to shake. They said that firefighters arrived shortly after the crash and extinguished the flames.
According to Steve MacDonald, a Cambridge police department spokesperson, a number of calls came in Saturday night from people who reported a burning smell. Police officials reported that officers and firefighters from both Bedford and Lexington, as well as a hazardous materials team, were on the scene Saturday night.
The plane crash took place near a stream, and the Clean Harbors company was notified and arrived on the site to contain any debris that may have flown into the water. Officials say that the Shawsheen Wellfield, also located near the scene of the crash, was shut down. This will not affect the residents’ water supply, however, as the main source of their water is the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority.
Just before his death, Katz and H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest won a private bid for $88 million to make them owners of The Philadelphia Daily News, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Philly.com. Katz accumulated his wealth through investments he made in Kinney Parking as well as the New York Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network. Katz’s family has chosen his son Drew to take over his father’s position on the newspapers’ board.
One more passenger has been identified in the airplane crash that killed Lewis Katz. Anne Leeds, who is the wife of James Leeds, a commissioner in Longport, N.J., also died in the crash. The names of the other victims have not yet been released. It is also currently unknown if the plane had a flight data recorder. Hanscom field was used exclusively by the military until the 1950s, and is now managed by Massport and used mainly for corporate and private flights.
By Sarah Temori