NTSB investigators search for cause of I-93 plane crash
HOOKSETT - The single-engine Beechcraft A36 aircraft that crashed on Interstate 93, killing a Rhode Island couple, is now in a secured hanger at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport being examined by investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Keith Holloway, NTSB public affairs officer in Washington, D.C., said investigators were on the scene Friday, documenting the crash site as well as collecting radar and air traffic control communications, if any. They also will get accounts of the crash from witnesses.
He said it is too early in the investigation to say who was piloting the single-engine plane or why, originally on a northern course to the New Hampton School, it had turned south and later took a nose dive and crashed after clipping a Department of Transportation utility pole, tall enough to reach above tree level.
Herman Hassinger and his wife, Doris, both 83, of Block Island, R.I., both died in the crash.
The plane ended up on the northbound side of Interstate 93 near mile marker 26.2 at the ramp to Interstate 293 and the Everett Turnpike southbound.
Herman Hassinger was a trustee emeritus at the New Hampton School and was heading there for a weekend board meeting when the planed turned back.
Holloway said small planes like Hassinger's single-engine aircraft are not required to have a "black box," a computerized flight data recorder carried on commercial aircraft. He said, however, a GPS or some other kind of recording device may be on board.
He expects a preliminary investigation into the crash will be completed by the end of next week, but said it typically takes 12 to 18 months before they are concluded.
The NTSB is the lead investigator in the crash with assistance from New Hampshire State Police, the FAA and the state Bureau of Aeronautics.
State Police Lt. Christopher Wagner on Thursday said a preliminary investigation revealed the plane was flying south and struck a DOT utility light pole about 1 p.m., causing the plane to nose dive. It crashed into the passing lane and shoulder of the northbound side of the highway.
The ramp from I-93 north to 293 south was closed and I-93 north restricted to one lane of traffic for hours. All lanes were open by 9 p.m. Thursday.
Herman Hassinger was piloting the same plane in August 2010 when its landing gear malfunctioned at Nashua's Boire Field. According to the FAA Registry, the plane landed safely after skidding along the runway.
According to New Hampton School officials, Hassinger and his wife routinely flew to the four annual board of trustees meetings, one of which is set for Saturday.
Hassinger was the owner of Herman Hassinger Architects of Moorestown, N.J., and was a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. He was the lead architect on several buildings at the school, including Alumni Hall and the Academic Research Center.