As investigation into plane crash continues, motive still unknow - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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As investigation into plane crash continues, motive still unknown

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Dozens of emergency crews responded to a plane crash on Main Street in East Hartford (WFSB) Dozens of emergency crews responded to a plane crash on Main Street in East Hartford (WFSB)
Arian Prevalla. (Facebook photo) Arian Prevalla. (Facebook photo)
Feras Freitekh. (Facebook photo) Feras Freitekh. (Facebook photo)
EAST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Roads around the site of the deadly plane crash that occurred on Tuesday afternoon have reopened and businesses impacted returned to normal operations on Thursday.  

Investigators confirmed on Wednesday that the crash was intentional. Beyond that, little has been ruled out.

Authorities told Eyewitness News that two men in the twin engine piper plane were Arian Prevalla, who is an instructor at the American Flight Academy based at Brainard Airport in Hartford, and a student pilot, Feras Freitekh. Eyewitness News is still working to find out who was flying the plane. Police said there were two sets of controls for the twin engine aircraft.

Eyewitness News learned the Freitekh, who is Jordanian national, had lived in Illinois, Ohio and Connecticut since moving to the U.S. in 2012. He was on a student visa, that changed to a vocational one. He also attended language school in Toledo. The visa later reverted to the student visa.

"Our knowledge the deceased pilot has never been a resident or been in Orland Hills," Kyle Hastings, who is the mayor of Orland Hills, said. 

Mayor and police in Orland Hills clarified that Freitekh was not a resident of their town, despite what his pilot’s application said.

A business associate of Freitekh’s father lives in Orland Hills and allowed Freitekh to send mail there.

Much of the debris was cleared on Wednesday at the crash site, but passersby can still see the charred ground along with the base of a utility pole. It was the same pole struck by the twin engine plane on Tuesday.

Federal officials, along with East Hartford police, were still pouring through evidence and trying to piece together a complete picture of what led to what has now been deemed an intentional crash. Police did not release any new details on the investigation. 

"The circumstances beyond it being intentional or how it was intentional are all being investigated at this time," East Hartford Police Lt. Josh Litwin previously told Eyewitness News. 

Main Street had re-opened on Thursday along with area streets and highways. Utility work near the crash was expected to be completed on Friday. 

East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc said her goal is help the jolted community feeling normal again.

“Life is back to normal here in East Hartford thanks to the dedicated efforts of everyone involved with responding to the crash. I am incredibly proud of our Police and Fire Departments, as well as our Public Works team for their quick and skilled efforts in responding to this incident. I have received many compliments from federal and state officials about the professionalism of our departments and their courtesy and cooperation," Leclerc said  in a statement on Thursday. 

Leclerc also thanked resident and people, who work in East Hartford, for cooperation. 

"I know that it may be some time before the facts are completely clear, but I want to commend and thank everyone who has worked tirelessly over the past few days to help our community get back to full speed," Leclerc said. 

For more photos from the scene just after plane crash, click here.

Prevalla, who survived, walked from the fiery crash into a nearby American Eagle Credit Union for help, police said. The American Eagle Credit Union along with all other surrounding businesses had reopened on Thursday. 

Suheilly Hernandez and her three children were in a minivan directly in the crashing plane's path, according to investigators.

An Associated Press report said it was suicide. It said a U.S. official familiar with the investigation said the men had an altercation and the instructor couldn't regain control of the aircraft. Investigators, however, have not confirmed that. They said they are looking at all avenues, including terrorism.

On Wednesday, the FBI searched Freitekh's Hartford apartment.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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