Greenhill & Co Inc said two managing directors were believed killed in the crash of a private plane on a busy New Jersey highway on Tuesday. Press reports indicated the crash killed five people aboard the plane and left no survivors.

Jeffrey Buckalew, 45, head of Greenhill's North American advisory activities, was believed to have been on the plane together with his wife and two children, Greenhill said.

Also onboard was Rakesh Chawla, 36, a Greenhill financial services sector banker, the firm said.

The plane took off from New Jersey's Teterboro Airport and was headed for DeKalb Peachtree Airport near Atlanta, the Associated Press reported, citing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesman Jim Peters.

Witnesses told the FAA the single-engine plane appeared to break up as it spiraled into the median strip and exploded on Interstate 287 in Harding, New Jersey, AP reported.

The plane belonged to Buckalew, who joined Greenhill in 1996 from Salomon Brothers. He was an experienced pilot with a passion for flying, Greenhill said, adding it had no further information on the crash.

Jeff was one of the first employees of Greenhill. He and Rakesh were extraordinary professionals who were highly respected by colleagues and clients alike, Greenhill Chairman Robert Greenhill and Chief Executive Scott Bok said in a joint statement. They will be sorely missed and our sympathies go out to their families and friends.

(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; editing by John Wallace)