HARDING TOWNSHIP - State police have confirmed that five people have died after a small plane crashed this morning on Route 287 in Harding Township.
Investigators have recovered a hand-held GPS device from the wreckage and are looking into weather conditions and whether they played a role or not. The air traffic control tower radioed the pilot to let him know of possible icing conditions before the crash. Investigators are trying to determine exactly how long it was between the transmission and when the plane fell off radar screens.
Despite reports of icing conditions from other pilots in the area, investigators say it's too early to draw any conclusions. The recovery was called off at 6 p.m. It will resume at 9 a.m. Wednesday, after the rush hour.
Investment banking firm Greenhill & Co. says two of its managing directors were aboard. They were 45-year-old Jeffrey Buckalew and 36-year-old Rakesh Chawla. Buckalew's wife, Corinne, and their two children, Jackson and Meriwether, were also on board. A dog was also aboard the plane. Authorities are still searching for their bodies.
Buckalew was the registered owner of the single-engine plane and had a pilot's license.
State police say the plane went down in the median of the roadway near milepost 35. Route 287 was shut down in both directions. At an 8 p.m. press conference, it was announced that all lanes on I-287 north and south had been reopened.
Debris was seen throughout a half-mile radius from the site of the crash. There are still more parts of the wreckage to recover from the site. State Police are on scene guarding the area. The wreckage recovered will be taken to Delaware for further examination.
The Federal Aviation Administration says the Socata TBM-700 single-engine turboprop had taken off from nearby Teterboro Airport and was headed for DeKalb Peachtree Airport near Atlanta, Ga. when it disappeared from radar.
Authorities say no one on the ground was injured.