Billionaire’s son dies in crash
Rockefeller single-engine plane goes down two minutes after take-off
NEW YORK –– The son of billionaire philanthropist David Rockefeller died this morning when his private plane crashed just minutes after leaving Westchester County Airport.
Dr Richard Rockefeller, 65, was piloting his single-engine plane back to his Maine home on the morning after celebrating his dad’s 99th birthday, said Rockefeller family spokesman Fraser Seitel.
The pair shared dinner last night, just hours before Rockefeller’s Piper PA-46 plane left the tarmac on its disastrously brief flight at 8:08 a.m. from Runway 16.
“It’s a terrible tragedy,” said Seitel. “The family is in shock. Richard was a wonderful and cherished family member. He was an experienced pilot. He flew for years.”
Rockfeller, of Falmouth, Maine, was flying solo when his plane struck a line of trees just southwest of the White Plains airport only minutes after take-off.
The plane crashed just two minutes after take-off on a foggy, rainy morning in the suburbs north of New York City, authorities said.
“It’s horribly sad,” said Seitel.
The small plane reportedly crashed near the State University of New York.
No injuries were reported on the ground when the plane crashed on Cottage Street just outside the SUNY Purchase campus.
Richard Rockefeller was a doctor with a distinguished career that included a stint chairing the United States Advisory Board of Doctors Without Borders from 1989-2010.
He was the father of two grown children, and served on the philanthropic Rockefeller Brothers Fund. He was recently working on PTSD issues for wounded veterans, said Seitel.