msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 6/19/2011 3:42:44 AM ET 2011-06-19T07:42:44

A small plane crashed about a mile from a suburban airport on Saturday, bursting into flames and killing all four people on board.

The plane crashed shortly after departure from Westchester County Airport in Armonk, north of New York City, authorities said.

The Cessna 210 took off from the airport shortly after 1 p.m., bound for Montauk, about 100 miles east, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Holly Baker said.

Soon after, the plane's pilot radioed to advise he was returning to the airport. However, the plane plummeted to the ground in Armonk before reaching the runway and exploded into flames, Baker said.

The plane was based at Panorama Flight Service, in White Plains, airport spokesman Steve Ferguson said in a statement.

'Such a good pilot'
The six-seat, single-engine aircraft was registered to Wein-Air Aviation Ltd., of Wilmington, Del., according to the FAA website.

Citing an official, LoHud.com identified the victims as Keith Weiner, 63; Lisa Weiner, 51; Isabel Weiner, 14; and Lucy Walsh, 14. According to the site,all four victims lived in Manhattan.

William Weiner, the pilot's father, described his son as "meticulous" and "careful".

"He was such a good pilot," the 85-year-old told the New York Post. "We used to practice what would happen in the event of an emergency like this — something had to have gone horribly wrong."

The plane went down in the woods about 1,000 feet from an office building belonging to an insurance company, Armonk fire Chief Luci Labriola-Cuffe said.

The plane was in a "couple pieces" and was on fire when crews from local fire departments arrived, she said.

"It was a fire that was pretty intense initially because of the fuel," she said.

The plane crashed on New York City-owned watershed land, which was unaffected by the crash, said Farrell Sklerov, a spokesman for the city's Department of Environmental Conservation. DEP's police responded to the crash, he said.

The FAA said that the National Transportation Safety Board was sending investigators to look into the crash.

The Associated Press and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.

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