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Search Suspended Day After Small Plane Goes Down Off East Hampton

June 02, 2018 - 11:15 pm
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EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. (WCBS 880) -- The U.S. Coast Guard on Sunday afternoon suspended a search for two missing people, a day after a small plane crashed off the coast of Long Island.

East Hampton police said "rapidly deteriorating sea conditions" prompted the suspension.

But Coast Guard Petty Officer Frank Iannazzo said the missing people are no longer believed to be alive.

“Unfortunately, after over 33 hours of searching and saturating a rough estimate of about 646 nautical miles, we’re still turning up empty,” he said.

Iannazzo said the decision to call off a search is influenced by a number of factors.

“That’s done within our sector; our command center. Given the time in the water; the temperature of the water; temperature of the air, they can determine the survivability time,” he said. “We typically will search past that time, depending on the situation and just the overall tempo of the search.”

He expressed sorrow at the outcome.

“We want to give out our deepest condolences to the family members who were found; recovered, as well as those who haven’t been recovered yet,” Iannazzo said. “Suspending a case is never easy, and it’s a difficult decision.”

The Coast Guard said it received a report just after 2:30 p.m. about a plane going down in the ocean near East Hampton.

Four people were on board the PA31 Navajo Piper, Coast Guard Lt. Alaina Fagan told WCBS 880. Two men’s bodies were recovered Saturday, while two others remained unaccounted for.

The people on the plane were identified as Ben Krupinski, 70 – who developed luxury mansions for celebrities such as Billy Joel and Martha Stewart; his wife, Bonnie Bistrian Krupinski, 70; their grandson, Will Maerov, 22; and pilot Jon Dollard, 47.

“They were active in the community, they were passionate about the future of the community, and always had thoughts and visions and ideas for how to improve the South Fork for that next generation,” U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-New York) said of the Krupinskis. “They impacted man y lives, and it’s a tremendous loss for the entire South Fork.”

Zeldin was a friend of the couple.

The roadway leading to Indian Wells Beach near the crash site remained closed to the public Sunday afternoon.