A plane that crashed in the woods was less than two miles from a suburban New York airport and “set up perfectly” for landing before it fell from the sky, but the occupants knew it was their final moments and called families to say goodbye.
The small, single-engine Beechcraft A36 took off from JFK International Airport in New York Thursday evening, but an audio recording reviewed by Fox News Digital between the pilot and air traffic control showed the flight was doomed from the start.
Twenty minutes into the flight, the pilot, Boruch Taub, declared an emergency. “We are losing oil pressure,” he was heard telling air traffic control.
He repeated the emergency three more times before giving the mayday alert at about 5:20 p.m. Thursday, according to the audio recording.
Air traffic control guided them to Westchester County Airport, which is about 40 miles north of JFK Airport, and was heard saying “you’re set up perfectly” to land.
Taub was heard saying, “I can’t see anything.”
It was pouring rain, windy and pitch-black, at the time.
Air Traffic Control told the pilot, “Runaway is at your 10 o’clock and less than a mile. Radar contact lost,” according to the audio.
Then all communications stopped. There was silence. Another voice was heard saying, “Any word from him?”
The response: “I don’t have anything.”
The passenger Binyamin Chafetz called his wife, before the plane crashed in a densely wooded area in the suburban town around Rye Lake, New York, Westchester County Executive George Latimer said during a press conference Friday.
“I don’t want to give the exact words, but he was saying goodbye,” he said.
Taub and Chafetz’s bodies were recovered during an “exhaustive” search Thursday night by using the last pings from their cell phone help first responders narrow down the search of a densely wooded, 162-acre area, Latimer said.
The two men were prominent members of the Orthodox community in the hometown in Ohio and on their way to Cuyahoga County Airport in Richmond Heights, Ohio.
Latimer said their bodies were released to their families, so they can be laid to rest before sundown, in observance of their Orthodox Jewish tradition.
There’s an ongoing investigation to determine what caused the plane to lose its ability to remain in the air for another 1.5 to two miles.
“My sense is, had he had a little more altitude and a little more time, he would have made it safely to the runway,” Latimer said. “We’re talking minutes, if that much.”