Rockefeller heir dies in crash minutes after take-off while flying his own plane out of New York

  • Richard Rockefeller, 65, a doctor and father-of-two, was the only person on board the plane
  • The aircraft took off just after 8am on Friday and went down after hitting some trees west of the airfield in Westchester
  • Dr Rockefeller had been in the area to have dinner with his father David Rockefeller to celebrate his 99th birthday on Thursday
  • Member of the powerful industrial and banking Rockefeller dynasty - his father David Rockefeller is worth an estimated $2.7billion

By Louise Boyle

Dr Richard Rockefeller, 65, (pictured in 2012) a father-of-two, pictured, was killed when his small plane went down on Friday morning in Westchester, New York

Dr Richard Rockefeller, 65, (pictured in 2012) a father-of-two, pictured, was killed when his small plane went down on Friday morning in Westchester, New York

Richard Rockefeller, great grandson of Standard Oil co-founder John D. Rockefeller, died today in a small plane crash outside New York City, a family spokesman confirmed today.

The aircraft took off just after 8am on Friday and went down after hitting some trees west of the airfield, according to Westchester County Airport.

Rockefeller, of Falmouth, Maine, was the only person on board the Portland, Maine-registered aircraft.

The 65-year-old was a doctor and leaves his wife Nancy and two children, Clayton and Rebecca.

The plane, a single-engine Piper Meridian,  crashed on a road in the hamlet of Purchase, a community of about 10,000 residents that houses a State University of New York campus.

It wasn't immediately known whether the pilot reported any problems before going down.

He had taken off in foggy and rainy conditions this morning.

Dr Rockefeller had flown from Portland International Jetport in Maine on Thursday to Westchester Airport. The doctor lived in Falmouth, Maine. 

The plane costs an estimated $2.2million and seats six people, including the pilot.

Scroll down for video

The wreckage of Richard Rockefeller's small plane lies in the yard of a Purchase, New York home after crashing shortly after take-off on Friday

The wreckage of Richard Rockefeller's small plane lies in the yard of a Purchase, New York home after crashing shortly after take-off on Friday

Police tape surrounds the scene of the small plane. Authorities said that the sole occupant Dr Rockefeller took off in rainy and foggy conditions on Friday and hit a line of trees

Police tape surrounds the scene of the small plane. Authorities said that the sole occupant Dr Rockefeller took off in rainy and foggy conditions on Friday and hit a line of trees

The 65-year-old doctor died this morning in a plane which he was flying home to Maine from New York

The 65-year-old doctor died this morning in a plane which he was flying home to Maine from New York

Dr Rockefeller had been in New York to have dinner with his father on Thursday night to celebrate David Rockefeller's 99th birthday, according to family spokesman Fraser Seitel.

Mr Seitel told the Portland Press Herald: 'The family is in shock. This was a terrible tragedy. Richard was a wonderful cherished son and brother, father, husband and grandfather.

'He was an experienced pilot and a respected medical doctor, who most recently was working on treating PTSD in veterans. And it’s just horribly sad.'

At the time of the crash, the weather was foggy and visibility was about a quarter-mile, police and airport officials said at a news conference. 

Richard Rockefeller poses next to a vehicle while working with Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in Peru during the 1990s in this image provided by MSF

Richard Rockefeller poses next to a vehicle while working with Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in Peru during the 1990s in this image provided by MSF

Emergency vehicles and personnel stand near a command post set up for a small plane that crashed on a road just west of Westchester County Airport today

Emergency vehicles and personnel stand near a command post set up for a small plane that crashed on a road just west of Westchester County Airport today

Police and firefighters stand near the site of a small plane crash in the town of Harrison, Westchester County, New York, today

Police and firefighters stand near the site of a small plane crash in the town of Harrison, Westchester County, New York, today

Pilots of private planes make the decision about whether to fly in such conditions, officials said.

After narrowly missing the house, the plane hit some pine trees and crashed in a yard. The aircraft broke up into many pieces, which were strewn about the property, with some parts lodged in the trees.

Officials said there was no indication of a mayday or problem.

The airport was closed for a short time after the crash. The Federal Aviation Administration was investigating, and the National Transportation Safety Board was expected to arrive later on Friday.

(Left to right) Richard Rockefeller, Nancy Rockefeller, Susan Rockefeller and David Rockefeller Jr. pictured in New York City in 2012

(Left to right) Richard Rockefeller, Nancy Rockefeller, Susan Rockefeller and David Rockefeller Jr. pictured in New York City in 2012

  

Video Source YouTube

Dr Rockefeller was the chairman of charity, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. He also sat on the United States advisory board of Doctors Without Borders.

He was a family doctor in Portland, Maine from 1982 until 2000. He graduated from Harvard Medical School.

 

His wife Nancy was formerly on the Maine Board of Environmental Protection in Augusta.

His son Clayton Rockefeller, 36, develops lofts in Providence, Rhode Island for artists to live and work in along with being the founder of the Steel Yard, a Providence nonprofit arts organization.

He was the son of David Rockefeller Sr., who was CEO of the Chase National Bank and the Museum of Modern Art until his retirement in 1981.

The Rockefeller estate in Falmouth, Maine. Dr Richard Rockefeller was returning home in his private plane when he crashed and died in Westchester, New York

The Rockefeller estate in Falmouth, Maine. Dr Richard Rockefeller was returning home in his private plane when he crashed and died in Westchester, New York

Richard Rockefeller was in Westchester having dinner with his father David Rockefeller (pictured with Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg, left in 2010) to celebrate his 99th birthday

Richard Rockefeller was in Westchester having dinner with his father David Rockefeller (pictured with Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg, left in 2010) to celebrate his 99th birthday

David Rockefeller is the oldest living member of the Rockefeller family – an industrial, political and banking dynasty. Forbes magazine ranked him as the 49th-richest person in the world, worth an estimated $2.7 billion.

Rockefeller was a nephew of Nelson A. Rockefeller, the 41st vice president of the United States and governor of New York from 1959 to 1973.

Dr Rockefeller's great-grandfather was John D. Rockefeller Jr., developed Rockefeller Center in  Manhattan.

He is survived by his wife Nancy and their two children.

American industrialist John D. Rockefeller, head of the American industrial, political and banking dynasty. His great-grandson Richard Rockefeller died in a small plane crash today

American industrialist John D. Rockefeller, head of the American industrial, political and banking dynasty. His great-grandson Richard Rockefeller died in a small plane crash today

The comments below have not been moderated.

Devastating for his father. Do not feel sorry for the dead; they have merely advanced to the next stage of consciousness: whatever that may be. We all have to. Be a good person, treat people kindly - and if you see a lovely white fluffy bunny wabbit; kill em', kill them all!!!!!!!!!!!! Muhahahahahahahaha

0
0
Click to rate

I think his grand father started the Population Council, it's intention was based on Eugenics and depopulation - a dark chapter that some claim is being revived?

0
0
Click to rate

First this site publishes an article on children being snatched by the state and now this. Something is brewing...

1
1
Click to rate

all that money and what did it do for him?

2
2
Click to rate

Well however much he was worth, he unfortunately made the mistake of believing in his own hype and publicity. He should have had the sense to employ a professional pilot. It's not as if he couldn't afford to. Greed is always punished one way or another.

46
26
Click to rate

The enjoyment one experiences when flying your own plane is nothing to do with greed!

1
1
Click to rate

Poor Guy, what a horrible way to go.

22
29
Click to rate

This guy is high profile and his family are one of the biggest names in America. Combine that with the unsual death i struggle to see why this isnt headline news.

17
27
Click to rate

RIP Mr Rockefeller. I feel sorry for his Dad at 99 having to get the news that his son has died.

20
56
Click to rate

That last image of John D Rockefeller... definitely a reptilian hybrid.

21
74
Click to rate

Was he in illuminati too? I heard Rockefellas are illuminati it could have been a hit! Anyways I hope he was ready to meet his maker RIP Sir

7
49
Click to rate

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

By posting your comment you agree to our house rules.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now