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August 11 2013 1 11 /08 /August /2013 07:21

Heartbroken attend vigil for two girls killed after Microsoft exec's plane crashed in Connecticut

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The devastated mother of two girls killed when a small plane crashed into their Connecticut home bared her pain Saturday in a heartbreaking online message.

 

“I can’t begin to imagine my life with you,” Joan Mitchell posted on the Facebook page of her 13-year-old daughter, Sade Brantley.

 

Bill Henningsgaard and son Maxwell Henningsgaard were killed in a plane crash Friday in East Haven, Conn.

Bill Henningsgaard and son Maxwell Henningsgaard were killed in a plane crash Friday in East Haven, Conn.

“You and Madisyn were my world. My heart has been broken to the point of no repair...My life will never be the same without you and Madisyn.”

 

Sadie and her 1-year-old sister Madisyn Mitchell were inside their East Haven home when a private plane piloted by an ex-Microsoft executive dropped from the sky and barreled into the house Friday morning.

 

Fire and rescue personnel surround the site of a plane crash in East Haven, Conn., Friday. 

Fire and rescue personnel surround the site of a plane crash in East Haven, Conn., Friday. 

The pilot, Bill Henningsgaard, and his 17-year-son Max were also killed in the crash.

The accident was Henningsgaard’s second in four years.

 

Emergency personnel examine the remains of a plane and a burnt home at the site of a plane crash in East Haven.

Emergency personnel examine the remains of a plane and a burnt home at the site of a plane crash in East Haven.

Joan Mitchell, after escaping the wreckage and flames, stood outside the home screaming for help, witnesses said.

Then she raced back inside the Cape-Cod style house in a vaint hunt for the missing girls.

 

Fire and rescue personnel stand amidst the aftermath of a plane crash between two homes in East Haven, Conn.

Fire and rescue personnel stand amidst the aftermath of a plane crash between two homes in East Haven, Conn.

On Saturday night, Mitchell made a quiet appearance at a vigil for her slain daughters.

 

The shattered mother, wearing a blue v-neck t-shirt, choked back sobs as she embraced received waves of anguished well-wishers.

Fire and rescue personnel surround the aftermath of a plane crash between two homes in East Haven. 

Fire and rescue personnel surround the aftermath of a plane crash between two homes in East Haven. 

“She’s doing as well as can be expected,” East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo said earlier.

 

A friend of Sade’s described the rising 8th grader as a “shy and timid” girl who loved music.

The twin-engine propeller plane had been attempting to land at nearby Tweed New Haven Airport in rainy weather.

The twin-engine propeller plane had been attempting to land at nearby Tweed New Haven Airport in rainy weather.

“It was devastating to hear it was her,” said Starriana Zmuda, a fellow student at Joseph Melillo Middle School in East Haven.

 

The pilot who died in a fiery plane wreck that killed his college-bound son and two kids on the ground was hailed Saturday as a philanthropist with a huge heart.

 "Sadie" Brantley, 13, and her sister Madisyn Mitchell, 1, died after a multi-engine, propeller-driven plane struck two small homes near Tweed New Haven Airport.

 "Sadie" Brantley, 13, and her sister Madisyn Mitchell, 1, died after a multi-engine, propeller-driven plane struck two small homes near Tweed New Haven Airport.

Ex-Microsoft executive Bill Henningsgaard “was a really amazing man,” said a saddened Marlaena Chiarappa, who knew the victim for seven years. “Bill was very genuine. It’s a really horrible thing.”

"Sadie" Brantley, 13, died after a multi-engine, propeller-driven plane struck two small homes near Tweed New Haven Airport.

"Sadie" Brantley, 13, died after a multi-engine, propeller-driven plane struck two small homes near Tweed New Haven Airport.

The Friday morning crash of the small plane into two East Haven, Conn., homes left devastated families on both coasts. Henningsgaard and son Max, 17, were visiting from Washington State.

 

And Connecticut mom Joan Mitchell — who escaped the wreckage and flames on Charter Oak Ave. — lost daughters Sadie Brantley, 13, and 1-year-old Madisyn Mitchell, officials said.

An aerial view over 64 Charter Oak Ave. where officials continued to comb the wreckage after the plane slammed into two homes near Tweed New Haven Regional Airport Friday.

An aerial view over 64 Charter Oak Ave. where officials continued to comb the wreckage after the plane slammed into two homes near Tweed New Haven Regional Airport Friday.

The mom stood outside the burning home screaming for help Friday morning, and went back inside the Cape Cod-style house in a vain hunt for the missing girls.

 

Mitchell, 39, was briefly hospitalized Friday, and she spent Saturday with friends and family members in another town, said East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo.

An aerial view shows the north end of runways 2/20 at Tweed New Haven Regional Airport and 64 Charter Oak Ave. in East Haven

An aerial view shows the north end of runways 2/20 at Tweed New Haven Regional Airport and 64 Charter Oak Ave. in East Haven

“She’s doing as well as can be expected,” he said.

 

The bodies of the four victims were pulled from the charred crash site about 12 hours after the fatal Friday morning wreck, officials said Saturday.

Two houses and two families were devastated when plane piloted by Bill Henningsgaard – who was killed along with son Max – crashed Friday in East Haven, Conn. Photo by Kevin P. Coughlin/Daily News

Two houses and two families were devastated when plane piloted by Bill Henningsgaard – who was killed along with son Max – crashed Friday in East Haven, Conn. Photo by Kevin P. Coughlin/Daily News

Authorities confirmed that the Henningsgaards were the only people aboard their 10-seat turbo-prop plane when it went down in the rain and wind.

 

The National Transportation Safety Board is on site to investigate the cause of the crash.

A plane slammed into two homes near Tweed New Haven Regional Airport Friday morning.

A plane slammed into two homes near Tweed New Haven Regional Airport Friday morning.

Witnesses said it sounded like the motor cut off before the plane went down, and the crash occurred after the pilot aborted his first landing try.

 

Investigators began removing the charred remains of the plane as crews began destroying the two adjoining homes. The plane’s wings tore into both homes, with its fuselage landing in the basement of one house.

The pilot of the crashed plane, Bill Henningsgaard, was traveling on the East Coast with his son, Maxwell, 17, as the pair visited colleges.

The pilot of the crashed plane, Bill Henningsgaard, was traveling on the East Coast with his son, Maxwell, 17, as the pair visited colleges.

Chiarappa is an executive assistant at Thrive by Five, an educational non-profit that benefited from Henningsgaard’s largesse. Word of his tragic death left many in the Seattle area despondent.

 

“My heart was broken,” said Chiarappa. “It’s very sad . . . Not everyone is so generous with their money. There’s going to be a big hole in our area for a long time.”

Firefighters stand at the scene of a plane crash, Friday, Aug. 9.

Firefighters stand at the scene of a plane crash, Friday, Aug. 9.

Henningsgaard is survived by wife Susan, along with daughters Eleanor and Lucy. He and Max were visiting colleges on the East Coast, and were flying into Connecticut from Teterboro, N.J.

 

The non-profit Social Ventures Partners, where he once served as chairman, issued a statement hailing his lasting impact.

The multi-engine, propeller-driven plane plunged into a working-class suburban neighborhood near Tweed New Haven Airport, on Friday.

The multi-engine, propeller-driven plane plunged into a working-class suburban neighborhood near Tweed New Haven Airport, on Friday.

“One of the true losses is how much more he had to give,” the statement read, “but his legacy is one of authentic, caring commitment to this world.” With Rich Schapiro

NTSB senior air safety investigator Bob Gretz, back to camera, confers with emergency responders on the scene.

NTSB senior air safety investigator Bob Gretz, back to camera, confers with emergency responders on the scene.

Investigators at the site of the plane crash early in the investigation.

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