He died with the pilot after their single-engine plane crashed in a heavily wooded area.
Two men from Cleveland's Orthodox Jewish community died after their single-engine plane crashed in a "heavily wooded" area of Westchester County on Thursday, authorities said. Passenger Benjamin Chafetz and pilot Boruch Taub died after the single-engine Beechcraft A36 reported engine problems according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), reports PEOPLE.
The aircraft was traveling from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Cuyahoga County Airport in Richmond Heights, Ohio. The pilot attempted an emergency landing at Westchester County Airport in White Plains, but crashed into a "heavily wooded" area nearby, officials said.
Westchester Co. officials confirm the names of the pilot and passenger who died in the plane crash in Armonk last night as Ben Chafetz & Boruch Taub of Cleveland, OH. Because of Jewish tradition, both mens remains were expedited to be buried before sundown. pic.twitter.com/Qi7ZBaZNgp— Shosh Bedrosian (@ShoshBedrosian) January 20, 2023
Benjamin Chafetz reportedly sent a heartbreaking final text to his wife that said, “I love you and the kids. I am sorry for everything I have done. … We lost engines. Call and have community say Tehillim,” the Jewish Chronicle reported, in reference to the Hebrew term for the Book of Psalms.
The plane was about 1 mile away from Westchester County Airport in White Plains when the pilot reported engine problems. He told officials that he was low on oil pressure. Soon after the tower lost radio contact with the plane which was discovered in a tree about five hours after Thursday's crash. The bodies of the victims were returned to Cleveland before sundown on Friday and buried in keeping with Jewish tradition, Westchester County Executive George Latimer said at a press conference.
Chafetz and Taub were experienced pilots, according to the owner of the plane, and Daviation, a company in Willoughby, Ohio, reports CBS News New York. He added that he was devastated by the news.
Their deaths have shocked their community. The two men were known to be devoted to their Jewish faith and their families. Rabbi Nassim Abrin of Bais Avrohom in Beachwood told News 5 Cleveland, "We are in shock. We're really, really grieving this morning. We lost two of our best — amazing husbands, fathers, friends, people, pillars of our community, people that would drop anything they're doing to help someone else at any moment."
According to the rabbi the two men will be remembered for their faith and family. "I think if you didn't know Ben and Boruch, I think it's important to learn about them and to understand the importance of being devoted to your family and to your community. I think they're people who showed how important it is and how selfless a person can be," Abrin said.
Chafetz is survived by his wife and seven children. The crash is being looked into by The National Transportation Safety Board (NSTB) and the FAA.
The Cleveland community and the Jewish community at large are in mourning, after word spread of a horrific tragedy which took the lives of Boruch Taub Z”L and Binyamin Chafetz Z”L – tragically killed in a plane crash near the Westchester County Airport. https://t.co/cFuMPEbNul— Moshe Schwartz (@YWNReporter) January 20, 2023
Cover Image Source: YouTube | CBS New York