The United States was rocked by an apparent terrorist attack on Tuesday afternoon when a Jordanian student pilot crashed a small plane “on purpose” near a Connecticut high school, killing himself and injuring three others.
Daily Mail reported that the Piper PA 34 was being piloted by Feras M. Freitekh and his instructor when it crashed around 3:45pm on Main Street in East Hartford, resulting in what a witness described as a “mushroom cloud explosion.”
Freitekh, 28, was killed in the crash and his instructor was rushed to the hospital with very serious burns. Two people who were sitting in a minivan near the crash were also hospitalized with injuries.
The plane was on final approach to Runway 20 at Hartford-Brainard Airport when struck a utility pole and wires as it came down, causing 520 power outages. The flight instructor told police that Freitekh crashed the aircraft on purpose.
“As far as the occupants of the plane, he is expected to survive. He is cooperating with investigators he’s actually speaking with detectives as part of this investigation as ongoing,” said East Hartford Police Lt. Josh Litwin, according to the Hartford Courant.
Freitekh came to the United States from Jordan in 2012 to attend flight school, and he later went to a language school in Toledo, Ohio. The Jordanian national was issued a private pilot certificate on May 29, 2015, and was certified to fly a single-engine plane.
Connecticut’s counter-terrorism unit has teamed up with the FBI, State Police Central District Crime Squad and Fire and Explosion Investigations Unit in the multi agency investigation.
“It will be a lengthy investigation for the next few days,” said East Hartford police Chief Scott Sansom.
We will update you further as this story develops.