Police Back in the Ocean Looking for Plane Crash Victims, Debris

East Hampton Town police are continuing the search for the two missing plane crash victims. Durell Godfrey

Three days after a plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Amagansett, police are back in the water looking for two missing victims and parts of the aircraft. 

"With inclement weather forecast for later today, and winds already picking up, we are still launching at least one vessel this morning and will be working to coordinate mapping of the area off Indian Wells Beach in hopes of narrowing down the search field and placing markers," East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo said by email Tuesday morning. 

A Piper PA-31 Navajo carrying four people crashed at about 2:40 p.m. Saturday. Debris was found about a mile and a half off Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett. The four people on board were identified as Ben Krupinski, his wife, Bonnie Krupinski, their 22-year-old grandson, William Maerov, and the plane's pilot, Jon Dollard. Two bodies were found shortly after the crash, though police are waiting on word from the Suffolk County medical examiner's office to confirm their identities. 

The Coast Guard suspended its search Sunday afternoon as conditions worsened at sea. The police kept up a search along the shoreline, looking for any debris from the crash that may have washed ashore. 

"When the conditions are appropriate for divers and submersible sonar, we can optimize the resources available in the coming days," Chief Sarlo said. "A full operations plan for recovery has been developed which is both weather dependent as well as dependent on location and condition of what wreckage is found."

Chief Sarlo updated the East Hampton Town Board on the recovery efforts Tuesday afternoon, saying the department hopes to be able to recover the two missing bodies.

"Even though there aren’t high seas, it's very choppy conditions," he said, adding that the difficult conditions remained unsafe for divers. He hopes to drop physical markers to map out the area "so that when the conditions do break and we do have optimal conditions, we can maximize the use of time, shrink down the search area, and hopefully be able to pinpoint where the remaining wreckage is."

He again asked that commercial fishermen not drag or drop equipment in the area of the crash site.

East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc thanked those involved in the recovery effort. "Everyone involved deserves very high praise under what were very, very difficult circumstances. We are fortunate to live in a place that has so many dedicated volunteers and staff, " he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the plane crash. Terry Williams, a spokesman, said Monday afternoon that the N.T.S.B. is in the early stages of its investigation. A preliminary report will be issued in about a week, but it will not include information on the cause. "It will take approximately a year or more before the investigation is complete," Mr. Williams said.

With Reporting by Christopher Walsh