FBI investigates Connecticut plane crash

Video courtesy MICHAEL FERRARO.

A deadly small plane crash that killed a Jordanian national in Connecticut on Tuesday was believed to be intentional, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been called in to run the investigation. The NTSB confirmed that it was turning over the lead on the investigation to the FBI.

At a news conference on Wednesday police said that terrorism has not been ruled out in connection with the crash but the Associated Press says an official familiar with the investigation says it appears to have been a case of suicide, not terrorism.

Flight instructor Arian Prevalla survived the East Hartford crash Tuesday. Student pilot Feras Freitekh died.

A spokesman for Bridgeport Hospital signaled that Prevalla was in critical condition but police said that he was expected to survive despite suffering major burns.

Authorities say the Piper PA-34 Seneca struck a utility pole in East Hartford and crashed onto the road at around 3:40 p.m., bursting into flames.  The plane had two sets of controls and it appears Freitekh was in control of the plane when it went down.

The police chief in East Hartford had initially asked the FBI to assist in the investigation because it happened so close to Pratt & Whitney, a manufacturer of jet engines for military and civilian planes.

"The path that the plane took could have been much worse. So we're very fortunate in that sense," Chief Scott Sansom said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are also involved in the investigation.

Freitekh's body remained in the wreckage on Wednesday.  The dead man was named as 28-year-old Feras Freitekh of Orland Hills.  He was reported to have entered the U.S. in 2012 on an M1 visa for flight school and at some point he also acquired an F1 visa for language school. Freitekh was issued a pilot's license in May 2015 and was certified to fly a single-engine plane.

Two people in a minivan that came close to colliding with the plane were taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

Authorities urged people to avoid the area as investigators continued their work.

"This is a very complex investigation with a lot of different agencies and a lot of different moving parts," fire Chief John Oates said.


The Associated Press and Fox News contributed to this report.

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