Police Release 911 Calls After Deadly Hanscom Plane Crash

One caller reported hearing 'a big boom' that shook the house.

Image via Associated Press

Image via Associated Press

Bedford Police officials released the flood of phone calls the department received over the weekend after a private plane bound for New Jersey exploded at the end of the runway at the Hanscom Air Force Base, killing seven people—including three crew members—that were on board.

One neighbor described the large blast that followed the crash as a “big boom” that shook her house. “There’s fire,” she said, when telling the 911 dispatcher about the scene near her neighborhood.

Another woman who called emergency responders said the explosion produced a “huge boom” that “looked like an atomic bomb went off,” rattling her from her bed. She said the subsequent flames produced by the explosions sent a “mushroom cloud” of black, swirling smoke into the air at the site of the accident.

The calls were released by Bedford Police Chief Robert Bongiorno two days after Saturday’s fatal incident, as federal investigators continued to probe what caused the Gulfstream IV to roll off of the 7,000-foot runway, onto a grassy strip of land, and down into an embankment below, where it burst into flames.

The National Transportation Safety Board has taken over the investigation, and said the plane reportedly never left the ground before the fiery crash. They said the aircraft traveled down the landing strip, before it broke apart and eventually ended up in the gully, where it came to rest. The NTSB is working with officials from the Federal Aviation Administration, Gulfstream Aerospace, and airplane engine makers as they piece together what happened the night of the accident.

The Philadelphia Inquirer owner Lewis Katz was one of the seven people on board the plane who was killed, officials confirmed. Katz was heading to Atlantic City with three guests, after attending a fundraiser in Concord. Others on board included Marcella Dalsey, executive director of the Drew A. Katz Foundation, which was named after Katz’s son; Susan K. Asbell, and Anne Leeds.

The crash produced so much smoke that the smell from the burning plane drifted all the way to the Boston area, leading to Cambridge officials fielding their own set of emergency calls about the odor.

While the cause of the crash is still unknown, a preliminary report is expected to be posted on the NTSB’s website in the coming weeks, with initials findings based on the team’s investigation.