UPPER EAST SIDE — Greenhill & Co. investment banker Jeffrey Buckalew, who died alongside his family and a colleague during a tragic plane crash Tuesday, reported ice on the plane shortly before it went down, the National Transportation Safety Board said.
Buckalew, who was piloting his single-engine Socata TBM-700 on a trip from Teterboro airport in New Jersey to DeKalb-Peachtree Airport near Atlanta shortly before 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, told area air traffic controllers that he was experiencing plane icing conditions minutes before impact, an NTSB official said Wednesday.
"The pilot confirmed that he was picking up ice," NTSB spokesman Ralph Hicks said at a press conference. "How much he was picking up we don't know, and we may never know."
About 15 minutes, later, Buckalew's plane reportedly spiraled out of control, before breaking apart and crashing into the median of Highway 287.
The plane reportedly had deicing "boots," but it was not immediately known if they were activated.
"We did have at least one air carrier crew of a commercial air carrier that reported icing conditions in the general time and location where the accident occurred," Hicks added.
Killed in the crash were Jeffrey, his wife, Corinne, their two children, Jackson and Meriwether, of the Upper East Side, as well as Greenhill & Co. coworker Rakesh Chawla.
"The firm is in deep mourning over the tragic and untimely death of two of its esteemed colleagues and members of Jeff’s family," Chairman Robert Greenhill and Chief Executive Officer Scott Bok said in a statement. "Jeff was one of the first employees of Greenhill. He and Rakesh were extraordinary professionals who were highly respected by colleagues and clients alike."
A full investigation into the crash could take 6-8 months, the NTSB said.
Investigators are reportedly looking for any memory device that may have been aboard the craft, like GPS, that may offer clues.