- The Washington Times - Monday, December 8, 2014

Six people were killed Monday when a small jet crashed into a Gaithersburg home and burst into flames, including the three people on board the aircraft and a mother and her two young children inside their home, Montgomery County public safety officials said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident and recovered the flight data recorder from the plane but had little information Monday evening about what may have caused the crash.

“Nothing is off the table, everything is on the table at this point,” NTSB spokesman Robert Sumwalt said.

The private jet had taken off from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and was descending to land at the nearby Montgomery County Airpark when it crashed into the suburban neighborhood instead.

The plane damaged three homes, carving a chunk through the roof of one and the bulk of the wreckage landing at the front door of another, Mr. Sumwalt said. An occupant of the first home escaped without injury and no one was inside the second home at the time, fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said.

The worst of the damage was done to the third home when a wing carrying fuel catapulted toward the home and burst into flames, igniting the two-story structure.

The three who perished inside the home were a 36-year-old woman and her 3-year-old and 7-week-old sons. Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger would only identify the family by their last name: Gemmell. Property records list the home as belonging to Kenneth and Marie Gemmell.

Officials quickly announced that all three on board the Embraer EMB-500/Phenom 100 twin-engine jet had died in the crash. But it took hours for firefighters to be able to make their way into the charred remains of the home to determine conclusively that the three family members had been inside.

The woman’s husband and daughter were not at the house when the crash occurred around 10:45 a.m. Monday.

Police have not released the identities of any of the three people who were on board the jet. But clinical research company Health Decisions of Durham, North Carolina, issued a statement Monday saying CEO Dr. Michael Rosenberg was among those killed in the crash.

It was unclear whether Dr. Rosenberg was flying the plane, but The Associated Press quoted a government official who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be named as saying Dr. Rosenberg had crashed a different plane in Gaithersburg on March 1, 2010. News reports at the time said a pilot by that name was involved in a crash on that date in Gaithersburg.

NTSB officials said they have taken the jet’s data recorder to agency headquarters for examination and will be trying to reconstruct it’s flight path, assessing weather conditions, listening to the cockpit voice recorder and other data to try and figure out what went wrong.

The Montgomery County Airpark, which opened in 1959, is located about a mile from the crash site and is listed as the fourth busiest public use airport in Maryland with approximately 100,000 departures and arrivals annually.

Police closed roads in neighborhood surrounding the crash as they continue to investigate but officials assured residents that it was safe to return to homes in the area.

“Residents should know that it is safe to be in their homes in this neighborhood,” said Montgomery County Fire Chief Steven Lohr.

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