Pilot with Oregon ties crashes; 4 die

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A man with ties to Oregon was the pilot in a crash Friday morning in Connecticut that killed him and three children, the Daily Astorian reports.

Bill Henningsgaard and his son died when the plane he was piloting crashed into the house. Two children in the house died when the plane hit.

The Daily Astorian reports Henningsgaard tried landing once at Tweed-New Haven Airport but was not able. It’s not known why he could not land.

His mother, Edith, is the former mayor of Astoria and his brother is the current attorney for the city.

Bill Henninsgaard in a 2009 photo after his plane crashed into the Columbia River (KOIN 6 News, file)
Bill Henninsgaard in a 2009 photo after his plane crashed into the Columbia River (KOIN 6 News, file)

Henningsgaard was involved in another crash in 2009. At that time, the plane he piloted went into the Columbia River after experiencing engine difficulties. His mother was on board that day, and both made it out safely.

The investigation into the cause of the crash continues.


The Associated Press reports the plane, a Rockwell International Turbo Commander 690B, flew out of Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and crashed at 11:25 a.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Tweed’s airport manager, Lori Hoffman-Soares, said the pilot had been in communication with air traffic control and did not issue any distress calls.

“All we know is that it missed the approach and continued on,” she said.

A neighbor, David Esposito, said he heard a loud noise and then a thump. “No engine noise, nothing,” he said.

“A woman was screaming her kids were in there,” he said.

Esposito, a 54-year-old retired teacher, said he ran into the upstairs of the house, where the woman believed her children were, but could not find them after frantically searching a crib and closets. He returned downstairs to search some more, but he dragged the woman out when the flames became too strong.

Wilson Idrovo said he was working on a house nearby when his son said: “Daddy, the airplane is falling down.”

Idrovo said he went into the house but couldn’t get into a room where the plane had crashed. “I feel so bad,” he said.

Angela Wordie was on her deck bringing in towels when she noticed a plane making a strange sound.

“It kind of was gliding. The next thing I know it hit the house,” she said.

Another neighbor, Pablo Arenas, said he and his neighbors live in fear of the planes. He said some pilots appear to be novices in training, while neighbors said planes often fly low and that larger aircraft have begun using the airport in recent years.

East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo offered sympathy to the family.

“It’s total devastation in the back of the home,” he said.

Neighbors said the woman moved into the neighborhood recently.

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