JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy’s harrowing final plunge into the frozen Atlantic Ocean is detailed by an aviation expert

JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy’s harrowing final plunge into the frozen Atlantic Ocean is detailed by an aviation expert

JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy’s harrowing final plunge into the frozen Atlantic Ocean is detailed by an aviation expert

Aviation experts have revealed the key factors that led JFK Jr., his wife and her sister to crash fatally into the Atlantic Ocean.

The beloved son of the late president, 38 at the time, crashed his small Piper Saratoga plane into the ocean about seven miles off Martha’s Vineyard in 1999 on his way to his cousin’s wedding with the two.

Some said JFK Jr. was reckless when he decided to take his wife Carolyn, 33, and her sister Lauren, 34, because he allegedly didn’t book enough hours of training to fly alone and regularly broke aviation rules.

Aviation expert Jeff Guzzetti, who was part of the team that examined the wreckage, told PEOPLE that this may have played a role in Kennedy losing control of the aircraft, as he was forced to rely solely on monitors and internal controls while flying through a foggy night. sky

“He was trained to look outside to get his visual cues,” he said. — There were no visual cues.

Carolyn and JFK Jr died tragically in July 1999 in a terrible plane crash about seven miles from Martha’s Vineyard.
JFK Jr. (pictured checking his plane, October 1998) lost his bearings over the Atlantic Ocean due to poor visibility and was not sufficiently trained when he landed, an aviation expert said

New details about the fatal flight have been revealed in the new book JFK Jr.: An Intimate Oral Biography, which includes insights from those involved in the notorious incident.

Kennedy’s plan on the day of the July 16, 1999 flight was to fly with his wife and sister-in-law to Martha’s Vineyard to drop off Lauren before continuing with Carolyn to Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.

He was planning to attend his cousin Rory Kennedy’s wedding that weekend with his wife, although Carolyn had to be begged to go as her marriage to the former president’s son was on the rocks.

According to columnist Maureen Callaghan’s new book Ask Not: The Kennedys and the Women They Destroyed, Carolyn told friends and family she had “no confidence” in his flying abilities.

In an attempt to put up a strong marital front, she agreed to attend the wedding despite her reservations, which turned out to be a fatal mistake.

Carolyn, along with actress Jennifer Aniston at an event in New York, January 1990, reluctantly agreed to go on the fatal flight.
JFK Jr was among the most famous men in America when he collapsed
JFK Jr in the cockpit of his small aircraft with Carolyn

John had recently started flying the Piper Saratoga, which was a much more powerful and difficult jet than the one he was used to flying, a Cessna.

He was still in the middle of instrument training and was not cleared to fly solely on cockpit commands when encountering bad weather or low visibility.

After taking off from Caldwell Airport in New Jersey, John followed the coasts of Connecticut and Rhode Island until he reached the point of turning toward Martha’s Vineyard, at which point he turned into the empty sky above the Atlantic Ocean.

Guzzetti, who was an NTSB crash investigator who now owns Guzzetti Aviation Risk Discovery, told PEOPLE that the turn to Martha’s Vineyard dramatically changed Kennedy’s visibility.

“As soon as he got to the black ocean with three to five mile visibility in the fog, it might as well be instrument flight rules (IFR) – which means you have to scan your instruments and that tell if your wings are level or if you’re going up or down, Guzzetti said.

“He was trained to look outside to get his visual cues. There were no visual cues.

July 17, 1999: A Coast Guard helicopter lifts a rescue swimmer from the water during the search for the wreckage of JFK Jr.’s plane.
The wreckage of JFK Jr’s plane is lifted from the water

In his final moments, Guzzetti said the trajectory of Kennedy’s plane indicated “spatial disorientation,” meaning he lost his bearings after relying solely on cockpit controls due to poor visibility.

“His flight path in the water is consistent with what is known as a graveyard spiral,” Guzzetti continued.

“The plane goes down a spiral nose… kind of like going into a drain. The plane went into a final turn and stayed in that turn almost to the ocean.

The aviation expert concluded that although those on the plane were within minutes of death, he believed the disorientation meant they were probably unlikely to know what was about to happen.

“In my personal opinion, I don’t think the passengers knew what was happening to them,” Guzzetti said.

— You might have felt a little G-force pushing them into the seats. You would have heard the noise of the air over the fuselage speeding up or getting louder during the final fatal dive… And then they hit the surface of the water and it was over.

“I would expect the pilot to be very confused and maybe a little bit scared because the instruments may not have been right for how he was feeling… The impact forces were tremendous.”

He ultimately said the story of JFK Jr.’s disappearance is “a cautionary tale for any private pilot to understand your own personal limitations.”