Dr. Rockefeller was flying home to celebrate the 99th birthday of his father.
A small plane, piloted by the great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller, reportedly crashed outside of Westchester County, New York, on Friday morning. Dr. Richard Rockefeller, 65, took off after 8:00 a.m. on his single-engine turboprop plane and crashed shortly thereafter. According to Bloomberg, the plane came down an estimated one mile from takeoff and hit several trees upon descent, throwing Rockefeller from the cockpit.
“The plane was broken into pieces, and some pieces were lodged in pine trees,” said Anthony Marraccini, police chief of Harrison, New York. “Some of the main fuselage remained intact.”
Weather conditions were considered less than ideal with rain and fog in the local area. The New York Daily News reported that Dr. Rockefeller was an experienced pilot with decades of flight time.
The New York Times reported that Dr. Rockefeller was a prominent family doctor in Falmouth, Maine. He leaves behind a wife, two children, and two stepchildren. He spent 20 years serving as chairman of the United States Advisory Board of Doctors Without Borders, in addition to a holding a board position with Rockefeller University.
Dr. Rockefeller was flying home to celebrate the 99th birthday of his father, billionaire philanthropist, David Rockefeller at the family’s estate in Pocantico Hills.
David is the oldest living descent of John D. Rockefeller, considered one of the most influential and famous industrial tycoons at the turn of the 20th century. After co-founding Standard Oil in 1870, John D. Rockefeller went on to amass a substantial fortune. He spent the last few decades of his life focused on philanthropic causes. At the time of his death in 1937, his estate totaled only $26,410,837, according to PBS.
The cause of the crash is currently unknown. An investigation is underway by U.S. safety agencies.