Former Microsoft Vice President Bill Henningsgaard was killed along with his son in a plane crash in New Haven, Conn., according to a report by The Daily Astorian, which cited Astoria, Ore., Mayor Willis Van Dusen as its source of the news.
When reached by phone, Henningsgaard’s brother, Astoria City Attorney Blair Henningsgaard, said he hadn’t received official confirmation but suspects his brother and nephew were aboard the plane that crashed into two houses in East Haven. “We have no reason to believe it was anybody else’s plane,” he told The Seattle Times. “As far as I know, they haven’t identified who is in the plane.”
The mother of Bill and Blair Henningsgaard is former Astoria Mayor Edith Henningsgaard-Miller. Van Dusen was with the family after news of the crash broke, according to The Daily Astorian.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy told reporters in New Haven that emergency workers have “visuals” on two bodies in the basement of one of the houses, according to a Reuters report.
The multi-engine, propeller-driven plane struck the small homes in a working-class neighborhood while trying to land in rainy weather. Firefighters found both homes engulfed in flames when they arrived.
Authorities at the scene initially said there were three missing people, including one on the plane and two children in one of the houses, ages 1 and 13.
“We presume there is going to be a very bad outcome,” East Haven Fire Chief Douglas Jackson said.
Henningsgaard is listed as the registered agent of Ellumax Leasing, LLC, in Medina, according to the Washington Secretary of State’s Office corporations website. Ellumax is the registered owner of the plane that crashed, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.
Henningsgaard worked for about 14 years at Microsoft in various sales and marketing roles, including as vice president of sales for the Western U.S., Australia and New Zealand.
After leaving Microsoft, he became heavily involved in local social-service and philanthropy efforts, helping start Eastside Pathways, which works to support the area’s youth from “cradle to career.” He has also served as a board member and past board chair of both Youth Eastside Services and Social Venture Partners, a Seattle-based organization that seeks to connect philanthropists and strengthen nonprofits.
“He is an incredibly good, real, honest man, for the community, for his family, for this world,” Paul Shoemaker, executive connector with Social Venture Partners, said of Henningsgaard. “The guy has already done so much for the world. And he was going to do so much more.”
Seattle Times staff reporters Janet Tu and Steve Miletich and The Associated Press contributed to this report.