Published August 13, 2013
EAST HAVEN, Conn. – A china tea set that a 17-year-old bought for his mother has been recovered from the wreckage of a plane he was in that crashed into two houses in Connecticut, killing the teen, his father and two children on the ground.
The tea set was found inside a compartment in the tail section of the plane, said John Mannion, the deputy police chief in East Haven, where the plane crashed.
There was a chip in the tea pot's spout, but the set, which also included four cups, was otherwise intact, he said.
Susan Henningsgaard told authorities her son Maxwell had purchased the set for her last week while on tour of colleges with his dad, former Microsoft executive Bill Henningsgaard, Mannion said.
The father and son from Medina, Wash., were on their approach to Tweed New Haven airport Friday when their 10-seat, propeller-driven plane went down short of the runway and struck the homes.
They were killed along with two children living in one of the houses, 13-year-old Sade Brantley and 1-year-old Madisyn Mitchell.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation.
Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board said the plane, a Rockwell International Turbo Commander 690B, was upside down when it hit the houses at a 60-degree angle, and the pilot didn't declare an emergency before the crash. A preliminary report from the board is expected within two weeks.
The two heavily damaged homes, which caught fire after the accident, were expected to be torn down.
Mannion said he planned to pack the tea set and send it to the grieving mother.
"That's a remembrance of a sad day, but a loving son," he said.