New Data on JFK's Plane

As the Kennedy family broke its silence to express its “unspeakable grief” Monday, federal investigators reported that John F. Kennedy Jr.’s plane dropped precipitously and made a terrifying 1,100-foot plunge in the final 14 seconds before it crashed into the Atlantic. Aviation experts said that the rapid rate of descent could mean that Kennedy lost control of the plane or that the aircraft stalled and spiraled into the sea. The single-engine plane piloted by Kennedy took off from New Jersey on Friday night. Kennedy and his wife were headed to his cousin Rory’s wedding Saturday on Cape Cod, and they planned to stop on Martha’s Vineyard to drop off her sister, Lauren, before continuing on to the Cape.

  • The flag at the family compound in Hyannis Port, Mass., last lowered when Michael Kennedy died in a skiing accident a year and a half ago, was not lowered to half-staff until dusk on Monday, as the family sadly confirmed the loss of JFK Jr., 38, his wife, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, 33, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, 34.
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  • Concerns about the whereabouts of John and Carolyn’s pet dog Friday have yielded reports that the pooch was generally left in the care of Jacqueline Kennedy’s former butler. Friday is not believed to have been aboard the doomed airplane.
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