UK & World News

  • 14 June 2014, 20:04

Rockefeller Heir Killed In Plane Crash

Richard Rockefeller, great-grandson of US oil tycoon and philanthropist John D Rockefeller, has died in a plane crash.

Mr Rockefeller was piloting a single-engine plane when it crashed near an airport in Harrison, Westchester County, about 35 miles (55km) north of New York.

The 65-year-old, who was travelling alone, was heading home to Falmouth, Maine, after celebrating the 99th birthday of his billionaire father, David, in New York.

Officials said the Piper Meridian aircraft was reported down soon after take-off at about 8am on Friday.

The plane, which did not issue a mayday signal, just missed a house and hit some pine trees before crashing into a yard in the community of Purchase.

At the time of the incident, the weather was foggy and visibility was poor, police and airport officials said at a news conference.

Pilots of private planes make the decision about whether to fly in such conditions, officials said.

Mr Rockefeller was a medical doctor and had two children, a son and a daughter, as well as two stepsons and three grandchildren.

He chaired the US Advisory Board for Doctors Without Borders for more than 20 years, and was involved in numerous health-related non-profit activities.

Family spokesman Fraser Seitel said Mr Rockefeller had recently been working on a way to treat post-traumatic stress disorder among war veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.

He said his death had left the Rockefeller family in shock.

"This was a terrible tragedy," Mr Seitel said.

"Richard was a wonderful and cherished father, son, brother, husband and grandfather.

"He was a very experienced pilot, who, by profession, was a medical doctor."

The Federal Aviation Agency and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.

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