New York plane crash: Passenger in single-engine plane crash contacted loved ones as plane went down, officials say


One of the two people who died after a plane crashed in New York Thursday evening after experiencing engine trouble reached loved ones in his final moments, officials said.

Pilot Boruch Taub and passenger Binyamin “Ben” Chaffetz died when they crashed near Westchester Airport, north of New York City, while attempting to make an emergency landing after taking off from JFK International Airport.

A single-engine Beechcraft en route to the Cuyahoga County Airport near Cleveland, Ohio, malfunctioned after takeoff after the pilot reported to air traffic control that the plane had a “dead cylinder” and was losing oil pressure.

“The pilot realized he only had a few minutes to try to land the plane safely — he just couldn’t do it,” Westchester County Executive George Latimer said during a news conference.

As the plane struggled to stay in the air, Chaffetz texted the family, expressing love and asking for their prayers. CNN affiliate WEWS in Ohio. Chaffetz contacted his wife in the final minutes of the flight and told her “goodbye,” Latimer said.

According to Latimer, Taub and Chaffetz were members of an orthodox Jewish community in Ohio. Rabbi Nissim Abrin of Bais Avrohom told WEWS they are comforting their community amid the tragic loss.

“I think those messages really reflected what was most important in his mind, and that was his love for his family,” Abrin said.

“We have lost two of our best – wonderful husbands, fathers, friends, people, pillars of our community, who would drop anything they were doing to help someone else at any time,” he said.

Before the crash, the pilot and air traffic control engaged in a quick exchange of information about problems with the plane, according to’s audio of the incident.

“We are going to declare a state of emergency. We’re losing oil pressure,” the pilot is heard telling the top air controller.

When the controller asks Taub if he has engine power, the pilot says, “No, the engine is overriding.”

A few minutes later, Taub signals a distress call, “Mayday, mayday, mayday.”

As the controller tries to give Taub directions to help him land safely on the Westchester Airport runway, the pilot asks for more directions. “I can’t see anything here,” said Topp.

The controller guides the pilot along the cleared runway. Then at some point, the controller says that radar contact is lost, and the pilot stops responding.

Later, according to preliminary findings from the Federal Aviation Administration, officials found the plane crashed about a mile from Westchester Airport.

The bodies were properly examined and released for burial in Ohio, Latimer said.

The accident is being investigated by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.

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