The co-owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer was among seven people killed in a plane crash on Saturday in Massachusetts.
Inquirer editor Bill Marimow told his newspaper that 72-year-old Lewis Katz was on board the Gulfstream IV private jet headed for Atlantic City.
The Boston Globe reports the plane caught fire shortly after it took off. The paper adds:
“The plane exploded in a blast that sent a fireball and a large plume of black smoke into the air, said Bedford resident Jeff Patterson, 43, who lives beside the runway. The flames rose 60 feet in the air, he said. His 14-year-old son, Jared, said the explosion rattled the house.
” ‘I heard a big boom, and I thought at the time that someone was trying to break into my house because it shook it,’ said Jared Patterson. ‘I thought someone was, like, banging on the door trying to get in.’
“Firefighters arrived quickly at the scene and were able to extinguish the flames in a short time, the Pattersons said. Still, the damage to the plane was extensive.”
The Inquirer has more on Katz:
“Katz made his fortune investing in the Kinney Parking empire and the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network in New York. He once owned the NBA’s New Jersey Nets and the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and is a major donor to Temple University, his alma mater.
” ‘Lewis Katz was an exceptional man, whose presence enriched the lives of everyone he came in contact with,’ said Marimow, the Inquirer’s editor. ‘He never forgot his friends or his roots, giving back generously to the city of Camden, Temple University, Dickinson College’s law school, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and countless other organizations.
” ‘He loved his family and his friends and they loved him back in return. We’ve lost a great friend.’ ”
Update at 10:54 a.m. ET. ‘Incomprehensible’ Grief:
Drew Katz, Lewis Katz’s son, said in a statement that his father’s sudden death has brought “an incomprehensible amount of grief.”
“My father was my best friend. He taught me everything. He never forgot where and how he grew up, and he worked tirelessly to support his community in countless ways that were seen and unseen. He loved his native city of Camden and his adopted home of Philadelphia. He believed in strengthening education through his founding of charter schools, his support of the Boys & Girls Clubs and his generosity to his alma maters, Temple University and Dickinson Law School. But his greatest accomplishment by far was being the most amazing father to my sister and me, and grandparent to his four grandchildren.
“His sudden passing adds to our family’s grief over the recent passing of our beloved mother, Marjorie Katz. We will miss both of them tremendously but will work to carry on the enormous legacy that they both created.”