WHITE PLAINS N.Y. (Reuters) - The
great-grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller was killed on Friday
when his small plane crashed in fog and rain shortly after taking off
from a suburban New York airport, a family spokesman and the Federal
Aviation Administration said.
Dr. Richard Rockefeller, 64, of Falmouth, Maine, was piloting the
Piper PA-46 aircraft when it went down about 10 minutes after
takeoff from Westchester County Airport in Purchase, 23 miles (37
km) north of New York City, family spokesman Fraser Seitel and the
He was the only person on board, according to an FAA statement.
Rockefeller flew to New York on Thursday to have dinner with his
father, banker and philanthropist David Rockefeller, who was
celebrating his 99th birthday, and was returning home to Maine,
Conditions at the airport on Friday morning were poor, and
visibility was low, said Peter Scherrer, the airport's manager, at a
"There were foggy conditions outside. You can only see about a
quarter mile down the runway," he said. "Those are extreme
conditions for the airport."
Several flights had taken off but many others had been canceled, he
"Richard was an experienced pilot, who had flown for many years,"
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating
Rockefeller took off at 8:08 a.m., but his single-engine plane soon
disappeared from radar, the airport manager said.
It crashed into trees on a horse farm about a half mile away in
Purchase, New York, 23 miles (37 km) north of New York City, local
police said. It broke into many pieces, and debris was spread about
100 feet (30 meters), police said.
The plane narrowly missed a house that was occupied, officials said.
Rockefeller was one of six children of David Rockefeller, a former
chairman of Chase Manhattan Corporation and grandson of Standard Oil
founder John D. Rockefeller.
He practiced and taught medicine in Portland, Maine, until 2000, has
served on the advisory board to Doctors Without Borders and was a
former chairman of the Rockefeller Family Fund, according to his
biography on the fund's website.
Rockefeller frequently flew in and out of the small suburban
airport, where about 400 planes take off and land each day, the
He was married and had two grown children, his biography said.
(Additional reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in New York and Richard
Valdmanis in Boston; Editing by Eric Beech and Ellen Wulfhorst)