Two men have died after their plane crashed in New York while on their way to a funeral – with a devastating final text message sent to friends saying they had ‘lost their engines’.
Boruch Taub and Binyamin ‘Ben’ Chafetz, both from Cleveland and identified by Jewish news organization, Belaaz News, were killed on Thursday night when their single engine aircraft encountered technical issues at about 5.25pm and crashed in Westchester County.
Taub, owner of ‘MasterWorks Automotive & Transmission,’ had been the pilot of the Beechcraft Bonanza A36, while, Chafetz, who worked as a tech entrepreneur, was his only passenger.
In their final moments, Chafetz appears to have sent a text message to a friends WhatsApp group sending love to family and asking his community to pray for him.
‘I love you and the kids,’ he said in the text message posted to Twitter.
‘I am sorry for everything I have done. Aay rehillim. We lost engines. Call and have community say [Tehillim].’ Tehillim is the Hebrew term for the Book of Psalms.
The flight left from JFK airport on its way to a small regional airport outside of Cleveland, Ohio.
Air traffic control at Westchester County Airport lost connection with the pilot around 5.30 pm after the pilot reported engine trouble.
The Federal Aviation Administration told they had been about one mile from the airport at this time.
Taub then reportedly made a call to report low oil pressure and an emergency was declared a few minutes later.
A ‘MAYDAY’ was heard over air traffic control minutes later, followed by no further contact.
First responders set up mobile command posts all over the area, including outside the airport and at several locations on nearby streets.
Crews went by foot into wooded areas nearby, and according to News 12 dive teams and boats were also sent out to search nearby bodies of water.
Rain, thunder and lightning is reported to have limited the search from the air and made visibility very difficult. The area also backs up to the Kensico Reservoir and Rye Lake beyond that.
Officials told the outlet that one passenger and a pilot, now identified as Taub and Chafetz, were onboard the plane which holds up to six people.
The wreckage was found just before 11.00pm in the trees on a small island on a reservoir just near the airport.
A playback of the flight on flight radar shows the plane quickly making a descent, dropping thousand of feet within minutes.
Chafetz is survived by his wife and seven children according to flight magazine website DansDeals.
Depending on numerous factors, the average price for a pre-owned Beechcraft Bonanza A36 is $240,000.
It was manufactured between 1970 and 2005, and requires a one person crew and can transport up to five passengers.