Clues sought in deadly Massachusetts jet crash

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FILE – In this May 27, 2014, file photo businessman Lewis Katz arrives for a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News in Philadelphia. Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner Lewis Katz is among the seven people killed in a fiery plane crash in Massachusetts, the newspaper’s editor said Sunday, June 1, 2014. Katz was 72. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

FILE – In this May 27, 2014, file photo businessman Lewis Katz arrives for a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News in Philadelphia. Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner Lewis Katz is among the seven people killed in a fiery plane crash in Massachusetts, the newspaper’s editor said Sunday, June 1, 2014. Katz was 72. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

National Transportation Safety Board senior air safety investigator Luke Schiada speaks during a news conference at Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass., Sunday, June 1, 2014. The co-owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper, Lewis Katz, was killed along with six other people in a fiery plane crash in Massachusetts, just days after reaching a deal that many hoped would end months of infighting at the newspaper and help restore it to its former glory. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Director of aviation for the Massachusetts Port Authority Ed Freni speaks during a news conference at Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass., Sunday, June 1, 2014. A Gulfstream IV crashed as it was leaving Hanscom Field at about 9:40 p.m. Saturday for Atlantic City, N.J. There were no survivors. Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner Lewis Katz was killed along with six other people in the crash. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

National Transportation Safety Board senior air safety investigator Luke Schiada speaks during a news conference at Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass., Sunday, June 1, 2014. The co-owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper, Lewis Katz, was killed along with six other people in a fiery plane crash in Massachusetts, just days after reaching a deal that many hoped would end months of infighting at the newspaper and help restore it to its former glory. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Massachusetts Port Authority Director of Aviation Ed Freni, center left; Director of Media Relations Matthew Brelis, center, and CEO Thomas P. Glynn, right, walk back to the civil aviation terminal after speaking with reporters at Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass., Sunday, June 1, 2014. Seven people were killed, including Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner Lewis Katz, in a fiery plane crash as the aircraft was leaving Hanscom Field Saturday night. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

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BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) — An airport employee watched as the Gulfstream jet raced past the end of a runway, plunged down an embankment and erupted in flames.

The witness account of the Saturday night crash that killed all seven people aboard, including Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner Lewis Katz, provided some of the first clues as investigators began piecing together what went wrong during the attempted takeoff from a runway surrounded by woods outside Boston.

Luke Schiada, a National Transportation Safety Board investigator, said Sunday they were looking for the plane’s cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder and would review the pilots’ experience and the aircraft’s maintenance history. He said investigators also are looking for surveillance video that may have captured the crash at Hanscom Field.

“We’re at the very beginning of the investigation,” Schiada said.

The plane was carrying four passengers, two pilots and a cabin attendant, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Katz was returning to New Jersey from a gathering at the home of historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. Also killed was a next-door neighbor of Katz’s, Anne Leeds, a 74-year-old retired preschool teacher he had invited to accompany him, and Marcella Dalsey, the director of Katz’s son’s foundation. A fourth person, Susan K. Asbell, 68, was identified by the Inquirer as having been among the dead. She was the wife of former Camden County, New Jersey, prosecutor Sam Asbell.

The identities of the other victims weren’t immediately released. Nancy Phillips, Katz’s longtime partner and city editor at the Inquirer, was not aboard.

Katz, 72, made his fortune investing in parking lots and the New York Yankees’ cable network. He once owned the NBA’s New Jersey Nets and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and in 2012 became a minority investor in the Inquirer.

Less than a week before the crash, Katz and Harold H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest struck a deal to gain full control of the Inquirer as well as the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com by buying out their co-owners for $88 million. Lenfest said Sunday that the deal will be delayed but will continue. Katz’s son, Drew, will take his father’s seat on the board of directors, Lenfest said.

When bidding on the company, Katz and Lenfest vowed to fund in-depth journalism and retain the Inquirer’s editor, Bill Marimow.

The fight over the future of the city’s two major newspapers was sparked last year by a decision to fire Marimow. Katz and Lenfest wanted a judge to block the firing. Katz sued a fellow owner, powerful Democratic powerbroker George Norcross. The dispute was settled when Katz and Lenfest, a cable magnate-turned-philanthropist, bought out their partners.

The event at Goodwin’s home in Concord, Massachusetts, was held to support an education initiative by Goodwin’s son. Afterward, Katz, Goodwin’s friend of nearly 20 years, joined the author and others at dinner, where they talked about their shared interests, including journalism, Goodwin said.

“The last thing he said to me upon leaving for the plane was that most of all what we shared was our love and pride for our children,” she said in a statement.

Leeds’ husband, James P. Leeds Sr., town commissioner of Longport, New Jersey, said he received a text message from his wife four minutes before the crash saying they were about to take off.

Dalsey’s daughter, Chelsea Dalsey, said her mother also was on the plane, but she declined to comment further. Marcella Dalsey was president of KATZ Academy Charter school,

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