'Always sweet': Long Island neighbors mourn family killed in plane crash

A little pink toy car sits in the driveway of Adina Azarian’s East Hampton home where she lived with her daughter. Hundreds of miles from there, in Virginia, is the crash site where the plane they were on went down on Sunday. 

Federal investigators are now trying to find out why the private plane flew into restricted airspace over Washington, DC before crashing in Virginia, killing all four people onboard. 

The aircraft is registered to Encore Motors of Melbourne. Owner John Rumpel told the New York Times his daughter, granddaughter, and her nanny were onboard. They were returning from a trip to his home in North Carolina.

"The airplane, engine, weather, pilot, maintenance records – all aspects will be items we routinely look at," said NTSB Inspector Adam Gerhardt. 

The crash and its cause had people talking after a sonic boom was also heard across the capital from fighter jets trying to intercept the plane that took off from Tennessee.


Long Island-bound plane crashes in Virginia following fighter jet scramble

The wayward and unresponsive plane from Tennessee that flew over the nation’s capital caused the military to scramble a fighter jet before the plane crashed.

"I believe because F-16s were scrambled to communicate with the pilot and there was no response, I’m thinking they were unable because they were unconscious at the time," said Dr. Michael Canders, who is the aviation center director with Farmingdale State College. 

Aviation experts suspect the plane was on autopilot as it went all the way to MacArthur Airport on Long Island before turning around. 

"It just keeps flying until it runs out of fuel," Canders continued. 

According to flight tracking sites, the plane rapidly descended. 

It eerily echoes the 1999 death of golfer Payne Stewart, whose plane lost cabin pressure and flew for thousands of miles before it crashed. 

Neighbors who knew Azarian say she was a successful realtor and it’s a tremendous loss. 

"Always sweet, stopped by to say hello, I’d always pet the dog," said her neighbor. 

The National Transportation Safety Board expects to have a preliminary report in 10 days. A full investigation will take more than a year.