Icing has been identified as a possible factor in the crash of a Socata TBM 700 in New Jersey on Tuesday, although the NTSB has not confirmed what role, if any, weather conditions may have played in the fatal accident.
All five people on board the single-engine turboprop were killed on Tuesday morning when the airplane, which had taken off from Teterboro Airport 14 minutes earlier, scattered debris including a wing across a half-mile area before crashing onto Interstate 287. No one on the ground was injured.
Witnesses say they saw the aircraft in an out-of-control descent shortly before it crashed onto the highway, with some reporting that the wing broke off before impact.
According to investigators, the pilot of the TBM 700 requested and was granted clearance to a higher altitude shortly before ATC lost radio and radar contact with the airplane, which had reached an altitude of 17,500 feet. The pilot had a short conversation with the controller about icing conditions, with moderate rime conditions being reported through 17,000 feet.
“The pilot told air traffic control he was picking up some ice,” said an NTSB spokesman. “How much ice is unknown. We may never know.”
The TBM 700 was registered to 45-year-old owner Jeffrey Buckalew, who was believed to be piloting the aircraft at the time of the accident. After the crash, parts of Route 287 were closed for hours as NTSB investigators worked to remove and preserve the wreckage. While the aircraft was not required to carry a flight data recorder, investigators recovered a handheld GPS receiver from the scene and are looking for other recoverable data cards within the wreckage.