A small plane crash off the coast of Long Island has killed at least three people with a fourth person missing and presumed dead. Included among the deceased was a home builder who was known for building homes for celebrities. The Piper Navajo crashed on June 2, 2018, one of a few small plane crashes in recent months.
Piper Plane Recovered Two Miles Off the Coast of Indian Wells Beach
The passengers were on their way to East Hampton Airport when the plane crashed, approximately two miles off Indian Wells Beach, which is in Amagansett on Long Island. According to reports, there was extreme weather in the area on June 2, 2018, the day the Piper PA31 crashed.
The plane, a 1984 twin-engine aircraft owned by Bernard Krupinski, reportedly left East Hampton Airport at around 11:00 a.m. and landed at Newport State Airport just before 11:30 a.m. It then departed Newport State Airport in Rhode Island at 2:16 p.m. At around 2:30 p.m. the plane flew into a thunderstorm and fell off the radar. When air traffic control lost contact with the aircraft, they called the police.
“The weather was awful savage,” said David Aripotch, captain of one of the vessels that was first on the scene following the crash. “There wasn’t a lot of wind, but there was a lot of rain and lightning-a lot of lightning. It went by quick and, right after that, the Coast Guard came on [the radio] and said there was a plane crash.”
An exhaustive search was quickly undertaken, involving the Coast Guard, police, Air National Guard, and nearby private boats.
Although two bodies were found right away, the Coast Guard suspended the search for the other two passengers due to deteriorating conditions. By the time the Coast Guard suspended the search, rescuers had spent more than 33 hours over 646 square miles trying to find the two missing passengers. The search has since become a recovery operation and officials speculate the two missing bodies could be trapped inside the plane. Rough sea conditions have delayed the search for two days.
A second plane, also owned by the Krupinskis, reportedly took off from Rhode Island and landed successfully at East Hampton Airport. Officials have not said who was on the second plane. It is reported that neither pilot filed a flight plane.
Victims of New York Plane Crash Identified
Onboard the plane was married couple Bernard and Bonnie Krupinski, both 70 years old; their grandson, William Maerov, 22 years old; and pilot Jon Dollard, 47 years old. Officials have identified both Bernard and Bonnie as two of the deceased but have not indicated if the third body found was Maerov or Dollard. A fourth body is still missing.
Friends remembered the Krupinskis as being well-loved and respected in the community. They had been married for more than 50 years and had one child and two grandchildren.
“Bonnie and Ben Krupinski were two great pillars of our community, who embodied the values of our town: generosity, warmth, charity, kindness, and hard work,” said East Hampton Town Republican Committee Chairman Amos Goodman. “They were personal friends to many, myself included. The apparent loss of life today is devastating and cruel.”
Bernard “Ben” Krupinski, was known as a contractor to the stars, building mansions for celebrities including Martha Stewart and Billy Joel. In a statement, Stewart said she was devastated by her friends’ deaths and described Maerov as an outstanding young man. Joel, meanwhile, said he was shocked and saddened by the deaths. He said he liked working with Ben Krupinski and noted that both Ben and Bonnie were committed to doing good for their community.
Maerov was studying government at Georgetown University.
A memorial service for the Krupinskis and Maerov on June 8 drew hundreds of people, with some having to watch the service nearby via live stream. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the crash. A full report into the cause of the fatal small plane crash could take 1-2 years.
Aviation Accident Attorneys
Attorneys at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman are highly experienced at litigating small plane crashes, including Piper planes. We understand the devastation that a small plane crash can cause and are dedicated to fighting for justice for you and your loved ones. If you or your loved ones have been harmed in a small plane crash, contact us today for a no-obligation consultation. We can answer your questions and advise you of your rights.