FBI Probing Conn. Plane Crash to See If It Was Intentional

Student pilot believed to be Jordanian national
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2016 1:32 PM CDT
FBI Probing Conn. Plane Crash to See If It Was Intentional
Firefighters use foam to extinguish the fire of a demolished aircraft after the plane crashed on Main Street in East Hartford Conn., on Tuesday.   (Jim Michaud/Journal Inquirer via AP)

The feds are now on the case of a plane that crashed in Connecticut Tuesday afternoon, killing its student pilot, NBC News reports. The only other passenger aboard was the instructor, IDed by a local hospital as Arian Prevalla, who survived, per an anonymous law enforcement official. The FBI is now speaking with him to find out if the plane was intentionally downed, East Hartford police Lt. Joshua Litwin tells CBS News, and they're also checking out the background of student pilot Feras M. Freitekh, who is said to be from Jordan. East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc tells CBS that the instructor told authorities the crash was intentional. The Piper PA-34 Seneca aircraft, which officials say came from a nearby flight school, slammed into a utility pole and burst into flames around 4pm EDT, injuring two people in a minivan on the ground (their injuries are said to be minor).

Police say there were two separate sets of controls for the twin-engine plane, but Litwin says it's not clear who was actually piloting it at the time of the crash. He said at a Wednesday press conference that the probe is "extremely active" and "still in its infancy" and noted that every option is still on the table, including the crash being an accident. CBS reports that it discovered Freitekh is a Jordanian national who first came into the US in 2012 on a temporary M1 student visa to attend flight school, though that changed to an F1 (a longer-term study visa) when he attended a Toledo language school, then back to an M1 at some point. Prevalla is said to be in critical condition, per a hospital spokesman. (More plane crash stories.)

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