Richard Rockefeller, son of US billionaire David Rockefeller, died on Friday when his private plane crashed outside New York City.
No one else was on the plane that crashed into trees in a neighborhood near Westchester County Airport, a family spokesman and the Federal Aviation Administration said.
On Thursday, the 64-year-old had dinner with his father David at the family’s Westchester estate to celebrate the banker’s 99th birthday, said family spokesman Fraser Seitel.
He was piloting the Piper Meridian single-engine turboprop when it went down about 10 minutes after takeoff from Westchester County Airport in Purchase, 23 miles (37 km) north of New York City, at 8:08 a.m., Seitel and the FAA said.
“It’s a terrible tragedy,” Seitel said. “The family is in shock. Richard was a wonderful and cherished member of the family. He was an experienced pilot. He was a medical doctor, and it’s horribly sad.”
Bad weather and a low cloud ceiling are believed to have contributed to the accident.
“There were foggy conditions outside. You can only see about a quarter mile down the runway,” said Peter Scherrer, the airport’s manager, at a news conference. “Those are extreme conditions for the airport.”
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.
Rockefeller practiced and taught medicine in Portland, Maine, until 2000, has served on the advisory board to Doctors Without Borders and was a former chairman of the Rockefeller Family Fund.
He was a great grandson of oilman John D. Rockefeller, who helped found Standard Oil in 1870.