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Nation/World

June 3, 2014

Paper owner's jet crew had flown together 10 years

PHILADELPHIA — The flight crew that died in a fiery crash aboard Philadelphia Inquirer co-owner Lewis Katz’s private plane this weekend had flown for the millionaire businessman and philanthropist for nearly a decade, and among them was a pilot who survived an earlier fatal crash, relatives said yesterday.

Katz’s Gulfstream jet crashed during takeoff near Boston on Saturday night, killing him, three guests and three crew members.

The chief pilot was James McDowell, of Georgetown, Del., authorities said. Spouses identified two of the crew members yesterday as flight attendant Teresa Benhoff, 48, of Easton, Md., and co-pilot Bauke “Mike” de Vries, 45, of Marlton, N.J.

“I knew he was on a safe plane. I knew it was a well-maintained plane,” de Vries’ wife, Shelly, told The Associated Press. “I know the other captain had a great, long history, (and) was also a mechanic.”

The rest of the victims were identified earlier as Katz’s neighbor at the New Jersey shore, Anne Leeds, a 74-year-old retired preschool teacher he invited on the trip just that day; Marcella Dalsey, the director of Katz’s son’s foundation; and Susan Asbell, 67, the wife of a former New Jersey county prosecutor.

The trip would be the last of several over the years the flight crew took with Katz; all three had worked for him for 10 to 15 years, relatives said.

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