CLEVELAND — The investigation is underway after a small plane bound for Cuyahoga County Airport crashed near Westchester County Airport in New York, killing two Northeast Ohio men on Thursday evening.
According to Westchester County officials, Binyamin Chafetz and Baruch Taub were flying back to the Cleveland area after attending a funeral. Both men are members of the Orthodox Jewish community.
The single-engine Beechcraft A36 took off just before 5 p.m. with Taub at the controls. The flight was made more challenging due to bad weather in the area.
According to air traffic control recordings, 26 minutes into the flight, there was a call for help. "I am declaring an emergency, Our oil pressure is dropping."
Flight trackers show that in just four minutes, the plane fell over 4,000 feet as it headed toward Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York. "Mayday, mayday, mayday. I can't see anything out here," the call came out from the plane.
Then, there was a sudden silence.
"I don't have anything from the aircraft right now," said the air traffic controller tracking the plane.
Chafetz's family says that moments before the crash, Binyamin sent a text message to friends saying that said their plane had “lost engines” and asked his community to pray for him. The message further read: “I love you and the kids, I am sorry for everything I have done. We lost engines. Call and have community say Tehillim.” Tehillim is the Hebrew term for the Book of Psalms.
The wreckage of the plane was found just before 11 p.m. in a heavily wooded area about two miles from the runway at Westchester County Airport, Latimer said. The victims' remains were found near the downed plane.
Pictures online from the worldwide Jewish news outlet Belaaz show debris of the small plane, which appeared to have collided with a tree.
According to Westchester County Department of Emergency Services Commissioner Richard Wishnie, Thursday night's weather made the search for the plane difficult, as it was impossible to use drones to locate it.
WATCH: 3News Senior Meteorologist Betsy Kling looked back at Thursday night's weather conditions in the New York City area before the crash.
The bodies of Taub and Chafetz were flown back to the Cuyahoga County airport on Friday morning in order to be buried before sundown.
The airplane that the two Cleveland-area men were flying in was registered to Larry Rohl and Daviation, Inc. of Willoughby. Rohl also owns T&G Flying Club, Northeast Ohio's longest-running and largest flight school.
In the past nine years, T&G and its aircraft have been involved in at least three separate crashes. In 2014, a crash in Willoughby Hills killed four Case Western Reserve University students.
More recently, there was a crash near Mayfield Middle School last summer where Rohl was the lead pilot and flight trainer, along with his student and another passenger. All three walked away from the crash uninjured.
T&G offers private pilot flying courses. Its offices are at Burke Lakefront Airport and Cuyahoga County Airport. On its website, the company says it has trained upwards of 10,000 pilots since beginning operations in 1976.
While the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating the crash in New York, records show the latest airworthiness date cited for this plane in particular was back in 1998. The aircraft itself is 46-years-old.
And while this likely wasn't the plane's first and only engine, flight expert Robert Katz tells 3News that in order for an aircraft to receive another certificate of airworthiness, something major would have had to occur in order to warrant a new one.
3News has reached out to both Rohl and the T& G Flying Club, stopping by their offices as well as Rohl's residence. We have also left messages.