WOBURN — A small plane crashed in Woburn on Saturday morning shortly before it was due to land at Hanscom Field, killing a New York doctor and his wife, officials said.
Dr. Michael Graver, 65, and Jodi Cohen, 52, of Manhasset, N.Y., were the sole occupants of the single-engine plane when it went down around 11 a.m. in a wooded residential area, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said.
The Columbia Aircraft LC41 had taken off from Republic Airport in Farmingdale, N.Y., at 9:33 a.m. and was scheduled to land at Hanscom Field in Bedford around 11 a.m., Ryan said.
The plane went down about 4 miles from Hanscom, according to a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration.
The couple had at least one child who was planning to meet them at the airport, Ryan said at a news conference late Saturday afternoon.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash, she said. Graver, who owned the plane, was described by family members as an “experienced pilot,” Ryan said.
Foul play is not suspected, she added.
Graver was a respected cardiac surgeon at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, a colleague said Saturday night.
“Mike was an outstanding surgeon and a great guy,” said Dr. Alan Hartman, senior vice president and executive director of cardiothoracic services at Northwell Health, which operates the hospital.
In an interview, Hartman said Graver’s death had stunned colleagues at the hospital.
He learned of his death around 2:30 p.m., when a group of nurses in the intensive care unit told him they had “some horrible news,” Hartman said.
“I was completely shocked,” Hartman said late Saturday. “Still am.”
Graver had flown to Boston with his wife to see his son, Adam, who is also a surgeon, Hartman said.
Adam Graver is a doctor in Washington state but was attending a conference in Boston, he said.
Graver was an experienced pilot who often flew his colleagues to Massachusetts or Rhode Island to grab lunch, Hartman said.
“It was not so much where they were going but the fun in getting there,” said Hartman, who had flown with Graver.
The plane crashed behind a home on Minchin Drive in Woburn.
There were no injuries to anyone on the ground or to homes in the neighborhood, Ryan said.
“We’re fortunate given how close the houses were to where the plane made contact,” Ryan said.
Woburn police and fire officials received 911 calls reporting the crash that startled residents on a Saturday morning.
Eileen Jones, 30, who lives on Henderson Road with brother and parents, said her “whole house shook” when the plane crashed. Her immediate fear was that her gas lines had broken.
“I’ve never felt any building move like that,” Jones said.
Jones said she heard two loud explosions about a minute apart and called 911. She ran outside and saw smoke building up over the trees behind their street.
An “awful stench” permeated the air.
The plane had crashed in the backyard of a nearby home, knocking one of the trees down, Jones said.
Police taped off access and temporarily blocked the adjacent streets to non-emergency vehicles.
Julianne and Marc Almeida said they were lying in bed in their home on Minchin Drive when they heard a crash and spotted plumes of smoke rising into the air.
“We heard the plane coming, and it sounded like it was coming in close and fast,” Julianne Almeida said.
She ran by several neighboring houses before stumbling upon the ruins of the plane and calling 911.
“I went to the site where the crash was, and I was yelling to see if anyone could hear me, but I didn’t expect anyone would,” she said from the front steps of her home near the crash site.
The Almeidas said the crash left debris scattered all around but said all houses seemed to be intact.
“Crazily enough since the plane is so close, there doesn’t seem to be any damage to the homes,” Marc Almeida said.
Hartman, who knew Graver for the better part of two decades, said Graver was very well-known in Long Island and a very hard worker.
“He will be sorely missed,” he said.