Ex-Obama Official Killed After Pilots Switched Off Stabilizing System In Airplane, NTSB Report Finds

Thos Robinson/Getty Images for The African-American Institute

Font Size:

An investigation into an airline incident that killed a former Obama official earlier in March has determined her death was not caused by “severe turbulence,” but occurred in the aftermath when pilots switched off a stabilizing system for the airplane, according to The New York Times (NYT).

Dana Hyde, an attorney who served in both the Clinton and Obama administrations, was killed March 3 after the business jet she was traveling in reportedly pitched upward and downward in the air while en route from New Hampshire to Virginia. Initially attributed to “severe turbulence,” the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated the fatal incident and found a series of things went wrong aboard the plane before Hyde’s death, the NYT reported Sunday, citing a report from the NTSB.

As the plane traveled from New Hampshire, pilots reported to the NTSB they were alerted to system failures regarding the airplane’s flight control system. Following steps to correct the issue on a checklist for the Bombardier jet, pilots switched off the stabilizer controls for the aircraft, according to the outlet. That action prompted the plane’s nose to swing upward and downward again in a “roller-coaster-like motion,” and the passengers experienced forces about four times the pull of gravity, the NYT reported. This pitching motion carried on for a “few seconds” until one of pilots onboard was able to regain control of the aircraft, the outlet continued, citing the NTSB’s findings. (RELATED: Matthew McConaughey’s Wife Posts Shocking Footage Of Scary Turbulent Flight)

Once the plane landed, 55-year-old Hyde was transported to a hospital where she later died from her injuries. It was not clear if Hyde was belted in her seat during the incident or if she had been walking about the cabin. Her husband and son, who were onboard the plane with her, were not injured in the incident, NBC News reported.

Flight crew members did not report experiencing “any remarkable turbulence during the flight,” according to the NTSB report cited by the NYT.

In a statement issued March 26, Bombardier expressed its sympathies to “all those affected by this accident,” adding the company was “deeply saddened by this tragic event,” according to the NYT.