Mom of East Haven plane crash victims speaks to Eyewitness News - WFSB 3 Connecticut


Mom of East Haven plane crash victims speaks to Eyewitness News


Joann Mitchell's world shattered after a plane crashed into her East Haven home, killing her children.

Now she's sharing her story only with Channel 3 Eyewitness News.

Mitchell lost everything that day - her home, her car and her children. 

On Aug. 9, 13-year-old Sade Brantley and 1-year-old Madisyn Mitchell were killed when a plane attempting to land at Tweed-New Haven Airport seemed to just fall out of the sky, hitting two homes on Charter Oak Avenue and bursting into flames.

Channel 3 Eyewitness News spent a good part of the day with Mitchell, who said she wanted to share how she has been coping with such a horrific loss.

"It hurts because I know my daughters will never have another birthday that we're celebrating together," she told New Haven Bureau Chief Robert Goulston. "I'm dreading Christmas because they're not going to be here."

Mitchell told Goulston on the day of the crash, her home "shook."

"I'm thinking 'it just went over the top of the house, let me go check on the girls, make sure they're OK. I know Sade is freaking out,'" Mitchell said. "When I opened up her bedroom door, there was a plane in the middle of her room."

Mitchell said she screamed Sade's name.

"'Where are you' ... and nothing," Mitchell said.

Mitchell said she stayed outside the burned out home for hours and refused to believe her girls were gone.

"In my mind, they were going to be OK," Mitchell said.

Mitchell said her brother-in-law, Robert Middleton, who is also Madisyn's godfather, has been one of her main sources of strength. Middleton is a pastor and led the funeral services for the girls.

Middleton said he still cannot believe how strong Mitchell is, after losing what she lost on that Friday morning in August.

"I dread Friday, Friday (she says absolutely) I hate it," Middleton said. "Thursday night it kicks in."

Mitchell said little signs help her move on such as "a little rainbow peaked out of the cloud" while she was visiting the cemetery.

"I said they are letting us know 'we're OK, we're OK,'" Mitchell said.

They also found a $1 bill untouched by fire. It was the dollar Madisyn never let out of her hand because her older cousin gave to her.

Even with so much hurt in her own life, Mitchell said she continues trying to thank everyone, who has helped. From outpouring of support from businesses and strangers to a man, who ran into her burning home to try to save her daughters.

"I had been looking for him and I couldn't find him,'" Mitchell said.

Until this past week, when she brought him a gift, and made a new friend.

"He told me he is uncle Dave to me now,'" Mitchell said. "He said I'm uncle Dave. I expect an update from you ever week."

Anyone interested in helping the family, an account has been setup at TD Bank North under the account name "My Angels." The account number is 4284747769.

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