A jet plane slamming into your shop building, exploding into flames and igniting chemical fires isn’t something workers were expecting Thursday morning. Considering their name, you can’t blame the Trumpf Inc. employees for a little extra panic when the crash hit. The anniversary of September 11 is right around the corner, so everyone is a little anxious, especially up and down the East Coast.
Exploding plane and fireball
With Taliban flying American fighter jets around Afghanistan these days, anything could happen. “Hey! We had nothing to do with that guy!” Trumpf Inc. workers yelled as they hastily evacuated. It turns out this was just a garden variety fatal plane crash which could have been a whole lot worse.
The industrial manufacturing company has been around since 1923, long before the former President with the similar name. They want to “build the industrial world of tomorrow,” their company profile brags. They just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when the jet, loaded with fuel, homed in like a missile.
Farmington is a central Connecticut town located “about 10 miles southwest” of Hartford. As reported by the Federal Aviation Administration and local police, on Thursday, September 2, the Cessna Citation 560X took off from Robertson Airport in Plainville on the way to Dare County Regional Airport in Manteo, North Carolina. It didn’t make it. Right around 10 a.m., the small jet crashed, killing all aboard.
“Two pilots and two passengers were on the plane at the time.” The names were withheld pending notification of families. Later the victims were identified as pilots “Mark Morrow, 57, and William O’Leary, 55.” Their passengers were “a couple from Boston, Drs. Courtney Haviland, 33, and William Shrauner, 32.”
Farmington Police Lt. Tim McKenzie told reporters at the scene, it “appears there was some type of mechanical failure during the takeoff sequence that resulted in the crash behind us.” An “intense fire” burned for nearly half an hour.
“It is miraculous,” he declares that more weren’t injured. He didn’t want to downplay the unfortunate fatalities of the plane occupants but there could have been more. “I mean to say that we can confirm no one was injured inside is some silver lining to this tragedy.” The industrial plant is full of large machinery and heavy duty chemicals.
A loud explosion
Caleb Vaichaus, employed at a nearby business, “ran straight toward it to see if I could help. I got as close as I possibly could and the flames were extremely hot and the fire was just getting bigger.” Governor Ned Lamont issued a separate statement noting that the plane “crash set off chemical fires inside the Trumpf building.”
The company later added that the injuries suffered by their two employees were not serious. “It was just a ball of fire, an explosion, and then the chemical fires afterwards,” Lamont declares. They “are still trying to identify who was there, identify the next of kin before we can say anything else. I just know it was incredible. The thing was filled with jet fuel.”
The NTSB was still on the scene Saturday investigating. As related by NTSB spokesperson Keith Holloway, the preliminary report could be out in as soon as “about 10 business days.”
The passengers who chartered the plane were “headed on a holiday weekend getaway,” Matthew Mitchell, the senior minister at Church of the Servant in Oklahoma City, says “on behalf of the couple’s family.” Haviland, “who grew up in Farmington, was a pediatrician while her husband specialized in internal medicine.”
The NTSB has confirmed that “records show Morrow and O’Leary were licensed pilots in good standing, and had worked as flight instructors.” The biggest thing they want to look at now are the maintenance logs for the plane, “as well as medical records and flight history of the pilot,” Holloway explains.
They’re hoping to get the wreckage “removed from the area as soon as this weekend. The destroyed aircraft will be moved to a secure facility for further examination.” The full investigation will probably take a couple of years.