Woman who died on CT after plane turbulence was former White House staffer

WINDSOR LOCKS — The woman who died in Connecticut after being fatally injured on a plane that entered severe turbulence Friday was a prominent Washington-area attorney who worked in the administrations of two presidents.

Dana Hyde, 55, of Cabin John, Md., served eight years in the Obama administration and before that in the Clinton administration, according to her biography at Columbia World Projects.

According to National Transportation Safety Board spokeswoman Sarah Taylor Sulick, Hyde was one of five people on a corporate jet en route from Keene, NH, to Leesburg, Virginia, when the incident occurred. The twin-engine Bombardier Challenger 300 encountered “severe turbulence” during the flight, resulting in fatal injuries to the passenger, Sulick said.

The plane was diverted to Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks and after an emergency landing, Hyde was taken to Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford, where she was later pronounced dead, according to Connecticut State Police.

Hyde’s husband, Jonathan Chambers, said in an email to Conexon employees and customers, the plane’s owners, that he, his wife and one of their sons were flying back from a trip to visit schools in New England when “the plan suddenly collapsed in a way that violently threw the three of us down,” according to the Washington Post.

The NTSB is investigating a reported issue with the trimming of the aircraft that occurred before the aircraft tumbled. Trim keeps an airplane’s moving parts, like the rudder, in a specific position, which requires less manual input from the pilot, according to aircraftacademy.com.

A spokesman for Conexon could not be reached on Tuesday.

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Hyde has over 25 years of experience in law, public policy and international development, according to her biography for Columbia World Projects, a program at Columbia University. She served eight years in the Obama administration as chief executive officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), assistant director in the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and senior adviser to the assistant secretary of state, the biography reads.

Hyde also served as an adviser to the 9/11 Commission and as a special assistant to the assistant attorney general in the Clinton administration.

Turbulence, ie unstable air in the atmosphere, remains a cause of injury to airline passengers despite improvements in flight safety over the years.

Earlier last week, seven people were injured seriously enough to be taken to hospitals after a Lufthansa Airbus A330 encountered turbulence en route from Texas to Germany. The plane was diverted to Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia.

But fatalities are extremely rare.

“I don’t remember the last death from turbulence,” said Robert Sumwalt, a former NTSB chairman and executive director of the Center for Aerospace Safety at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

An Associated Press report was used for this story.

Christine Dempsey can be reached at [email protected]