A flying instructor desperately fought for the controls of a plane moments before his student pilot ‘deliberately crashed into a Connecticut street’, sources say.
Trainee pilot Feras M. Freitekh and his instructor Arian Prevalla had been arguing during the flight on Tuesday afternoon after the student said he no longer wanted to fly the plane, a source told the Hartford Courant.
Prevella had desperately tried to regain control of the Piper PA 34A – which has two sets of controls – when Freitekh suddenly began flying erratically. But the experienced pilot was not able to stop their descent and the plane crashed on Tuesday.
Jordanian national Freitekh, 28, was killed in the crash while Prevalla was rushed to hospital with serious burns. Two people in a minivan close to the landing site were also hospitalized..
Despite his injuries, Prevalla, 43, of Meriden, Connecticut, was able to tell the authorities that his student pilot had deliberately downed the plane and a federal investigation has now begun.
East Hartford police Chief Scott Sansom added that the FBI would also be investigating as the crash had occurred suspiciously close to defense contractor Pratt & Whitney’s headquarters, which he described as ‘critical infrastructure.’
However, so far investigators have been unable to discover any obvious links between Freitekh and terrorist organisations.
The crash appeared to have been a suicide attempt by the student, and terrorism was ruled out, the official, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity
‘It will be a lengthy investigation for the next few days,’ Sansom said, noting that it was too early to tell what caused the plane to crash.
Freitekh, originally from Jordan, was listed as living in Orlando Hills, Illinois, before moving to Ritz Grande Apartments in Hartford, Connecticut to learn to fly.
When the authorities searched his apartment after the crash they found three other foreign nationals living with him – all also studying for their pilots’ licenses. The trio were interviewed by the authorities but have been released without charge.
Police found no evidence of terrorist activities when they initially searched his Connecticut apartment but investigators say the search is continuing. His social media pages also appear devoid of any strong political leanings or terrorist sympathies.
This article originally appeared on the Daily Mail.