Boston Sunday Globe Story

Plane crashes in Concord
Two people killed; pilot tried to land at a foggy Hanscom

By Corey Dade and Megan Tench, Globe Staff, 9/28/2003

As thick fog slowly lifted yesterday morning, a married couple flying into
Hanscom Field in Bedford from New York were killed when their small aircraft
crashed into a heavily wooded area near Minuteman National Park, authorities said.

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The man and woman, whom Concord police identified late yesterday as Dr.
Rivindra F. Shah, 64, and Manjula Shah, 65, of Oswego, N.Y., were the only people
on the plane, a Cessna 182 that seats four, when it dropped off the radar
screens at Hanscom and plunged into the woods in Concord. The crash occurred about
3 miles from the airport at 11:04, according to investigators.

According to the National Guard's website, Shah was a retired brigadier
general and the former State Air surgeon for the New York Air National Guard, based
out of Latham, N.Y. He began his military career as a major in October 1982,
when he joined the 174th Fighter Wing in Syracuse, N.Y. He was promoted to
brigadier general in September 1999.

According to the website, Shah has clocked more than 500 flight hours in a
variety of aircraft.

The website also says Shah was responsible for promoting flying safety and
advising the state planning committee on disaster preparedness.

Jim Peters, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman, said the plane,
which was traveling from Oswego County Airport in Fulton, N.Y., turned northwest
and then back to the south before disappearing from the flight controllers'
screens.

The plane was cleared for an instrument landing, officials said.

"In communicating with the flight controllers, the pilot gave no indication
that there were any problems with the aircraft," Peters said, adding the FAA
had no flight plan from the plane.

"It's common for small planes to be under visual flight-monitoring rules
because most of the pilots who fly them are weekend warriors. They go out for a
jaunt on the countryside," he said.

Concord police, having been alerted to the disappearance at 11:20 a.m., said
a 911 call then came in from a woman jogging in the area. She reported seeing
the plane streaking into the woods about 2 miles away from Monument Street.

Airport officials said the plane had been leased from Tarandi Leasing in
Yorklyn, Del.

This is the second recent fatal plane crash in inclimate weather in
Massachusetts. Tuesday, a small plane crashed in Nantucket in a predawn darkness made
worse by a thick fog. One person died and a second person was injured.

Peters said the National Transportation Safety Board will lead the
investigation into Saturday's crash and determine its cause.

The wreckage was found at the crest of a hill, the debris across a roughly
1,250-square-foot patch of ground difficult for investigators to reach.
Investigators drove all-terrain vehicles to a stream and walked the rest of the way on
a narrow stone path.

"We had to access it through rough terrain," said Concord Fire Chief Marc
Cotreau. "It took quite some time to find the plane, even though we were there
quickly."

Corey Dade can be reached at dade@globe.com.
Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

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