NTSB official: East Hartford plane crash was ‘intentional’

WTNH Report It/ Frank Crandall

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Several agencies are on the scene of a plane crash in East Hartford, trying to figure out what caused the twin engine plane to fall from the sky Tuesday afternoon along Main Street, while on approach to Brainard Airport.

Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday afternoon their investigation concluded the crash was intentional. The investigation will now be put into the hands of the FBI.

The scene is Main Street in East Hartford right in front of the huge headquarters of Pratt & Whitney. The charred wreckage of what used to be a dual control piper PA 34 is just over on the side of the street in front of the American Eagle Credit Union.

Related: Officials identify one of the pilots in East Hartford plane crash

We know the plane took off Tuesday from Brainard Airport, just the other side of the Connecticut River. Two men on board, a flight instructor and a student pilot. At about 3:30 Monday afternoon it came up Main Street, clipping power lines and utility poles, cartwheeling and bursting into flames. Wreckage crashed just feet from a minivan with a mother and her children inside, but they are all fine.

A U.S. official familiar with the investigation tells the Associated Press that the case appears to have been a case of suicide, not terrorism.

Web Extra:

Witnesses saw the flight instructor, identified as Arian Prevalla, jump out of the burning plane. He is being treated at the state’s top burn unit at Bridgeport Hospital, but is expected to live. His condition has been upgraded to fair. Prevalla met with State Police and East Hartford Police on Wednesday.

Authorities tell ABC News they believe the student pilot killed in the crash is Feras Majdii Mohammad Freitekh

Related: Witness recalls plane crash that killed student, injured pilot

The New York Times is reporting the instructor told federal investigators this crash was no accident. We asked East Hartford police about that just moments ago.

“I cannot confirm any of that information at this time. All I can tell you is that, although you can see that the investigation is extremely active, it is still in its infancy,” said Lt. Josh Litwin, East Hartford Police Dept.

The NTSB is notoriously thorough in its investigations, so it could be a while before we know anything for sure. The FBI, FAA and State Police are also involved. The body is still in the wreckage, so Main Street is going to stay closed for a while.

Related: 1 dead after plane crashes in East Hartford in front of Pratt & Whitney

News 8 spoke to the manager of the credit union where the plane crashed. They are of course closed Tuesday, but American Eagle has plenty of other branches, so he says customers are not all that inconvenienced.

There is a separate investigation going on in Hartford that may or may not be the residence of the dead student pilot. A lot of pieces to this, we are still putting them together, so stay with WTNH.com.

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