A member of the powerful Rockefeller family was killed on Friday when his small plane crashed shortly after takeoff from an airport north of New York City, a family spokesman said.


Dr. Richard Rockefeller of Falmouth, Maine, was the only person on board the Piper PA-46 aircraft when it went down about 10 minutes after takeoff from Westchester County Airport in Purchase, 23 miles north of New York City, spokesman Fraser Seitel and the Federal Aviation Administration said.

It was unclear what caused the plane to crash as it took off during a foggy and rainy morning, and an investigation was underway, the official said.

The crash occurred close to the State University of New York at Purchase, but the wreckage was not on campus grounds, a university police official said.

Streets around the crash site were blocked off, according to local media reports. Medical teams were on the scene, and the identity of the pilot would be released after the family was notified, authorities said.

The plane took off from the airport at 8:10 a.m., and crashed about 10 minutes later, the FAA said.

Both the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

[Image: policecarsiren-flickruserJoNaylor]