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Rockefeller great-grandson dies in NY plane crash



By ULA ILNYTZKY and PATRICK WHITTLE

NEW YORK (AP) -- A small plane crashed outside New York City on Friday, killing a great grandson of Standard Oil co-founder John D. Rockefeller, a family spokesman said.

The single-engine plane took off from Westchester County Airport just after 8 a.m. Friday and narrowly missed a house west of the airfield before hitting some trees, officials said.

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

The 65-year-old was a doctor and father of two, family spokesman Fraser Seitel said. He had recently been working on a way to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in wounded war veterans, Seitel said.

"It's a terrible tragedy," Seitel said. "Richard was a wonderful cherished son, brother, father and grandfather."

Rockefeller was a nephew of former Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller, who also was governor of New York from 1959 to 1973. On Thursday, Richard Rockefeller ate dinner with his father, banker and philanthropist David Rockefeller, in Westchester to celebrate the family patriarch's 99th birthday, Seitel said.

Seitel described him as an experienced pilot whose death left the family in shock.

The plane, a Piper Meridian, crashed in the hamlet of Purchase, a New York City bedroom community of about 10,000 residents that houses a State University of New York campus.

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.

An FAA control tower notified that the aircraft was missing from their radar and an emergency response was initiated.

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. 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.

Rockefeller chaired the United States Advisory Board for Doctors Without Borders for more than 20 years, ending in 2010. He was involved in numerous other nonprofit activities.

"Every aspect of his life was to advance the well-being of the world," said Tim Glidden, president of Maine Coast Heritage Trust, where Rockefeller served as board chairman from 2000 to 2006.

Rockefeller is survived by his wife, Nancy, and their children, Clayton and Rebecca.

---

Whittle reported from Portland, Maine.

Rockefeller Great-Grandson Dies in Small Plane Crash Near SUNY

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hoffmanl2 June 13 2014 at 4:31 PM

I am disgusted by those of you who make snide remarks about wealthy people. Wealth creates jobs and econoic strength in this country. It is what made America great. Look at the good this man was accomplishing with his life. You should be ashamed of your bigotry. If you think it's easy to accumulate wealth, open a business and try it yourself.

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29 replies
vglass2362 June 13 2014 at 4:06 PM

So sad. A man who had everything but still decided to forge his own trail and to make a difference. Obviously very bright and gifted his loss will be felt by many. May his family take comfort in the knowledge that he made a difference.

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7 replies
Skiclass@aol.com June 13 2014 at 3:19 PM

Sorry to have heard this news, my thoughts, and prayers go out to the family!

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2 replies
Ray Skiclass@aol.com June 13 2014 at 3:34 PM

Yes, what a shame. RIP

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t71445 Skiclass@aol.com June 13 2014 at 4:49 PM

What good will prayers do? Bring him back to life? prayers are a waste of breath.

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41 replies
ajt1025 June 13 2014 at 4:05 PM

So much good from this man, sorry to hear such news. RIP in peace Mr. Rockefeller.

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1 reply
pboucard50 ajt1025 June 13 2014 at 8:25 PM

He will have to RIP, not one move.

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kayciaccio June 13 2014 at 3:48 PM

That is so sad, my sympathies go out to his family and friends.

Flag Reply +44 rate up
Richard June 13 2014 at 3:37 PM

Doesn't matter how rich you are in Gods eyes. When its your time, its your time. Hope he can stand in his judgment in good standings.

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4 replies
noelle June 13 2014 at 3:55 PM

What a tragedy that is....so sorry to lose such a doctor. Sympathy for his family and friends. He will be missed. God Bless him.

Flag Reply +36 rate up
kimcrdr June 13 2014 at 3:57 PM

very sad, my condolences and prayers goes out to his family and friends!

Flag Reply +27 rate up
zidzag1973 June 13 2014 at 3:58 PM

Why would a Rockefeller be flying himself in a small plane? This is dumber then then JFK Jr. flying. He was at least still young and invincible or so he thought. This old guy was just stupid. None the less every ones got to die sometime. RIP Dr. Rockefeller my your children enjoy your Grand Fathers wealth.

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25 replies
wmkeyser June 13 2014 at 4:10 PM

Another loss of a wonderful do -gooder. Life is not really very fair.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
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