Update: Services Announced for Victims of Plane Crash as Search Resumes

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Police closed off access to Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett on Saturday, June 2, following reports of a plane crash. Kathryn G. Menu photo

Update, Tuesday, 8 p.m.

Services were announced for three victims of a plane crash Saturday that claimed the lives of Ben and Bonnie Krupinski, their grandson William Maerov and pilot Jon Dollard. A wake for Mr. and Mrs. Krupinksi and Mr. Maerov will be held at the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home on Pantigo Road in East Hampton from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 7. A funeral service will take place on Friday, June 8, at the First Presbyterian Church in East Hampton Village.

The four were lost in a crash 1.5 miles off the coast of Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett during a storm on Saturday afternoon. Two bodies that have yet to be identified by the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office, were recovered the day of the crash. East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo said Tuesday morning that land and sea efforts to recover the remaining two victims were underway while weather held for a safe recovery mission.

Update, Sunday, 2 p.m.

The Coast Guard has suspended its search for the Piper Navajo plane that crashed Saturday 1.5 miles off of Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett, and the search for the two remaining occupants of the plane, due to rapidly deteriorating sea conditions.

Two bodies have been recovered after the crash — police are awaiting confirmation from the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office before they will announce which victims have been recovered. Ben and Bonnie Krupinski owned the plane and were traveling with their grandson, William Maerov and pilot Jon Dollard when the plan crashed at approximately 2:54 p.m. in the midst of strong storm.

According to police, land based searches by law enforcement will continue until such time as sea conditions improve and East Hampton Town Marine Patrol vessels can be deployed.

Update, Sunday, 12:20 p.m.

Just after noon on Sunday, East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc released a statement in response to news that a plane carrying Ben and Bonnie Krupinski, as well as their grandson, William Maerov and pilot Jon Dollard, crashed off the coast of Amagansett on Saturday.

“I am in shock and filled with great sadness at the loss of Ben and Bonnie Krupinski, their grandson William Maerov, and pilot Jon Dollard in yesterday’s tragic accident,” said Mr. Van Scoyoc in a written statement. “Ben and Bonnie’s influence and generosity reached every corner of our community. They were fully committed to East Hampton and they will be sorely missed. Our thought and prayers are with them, their friends, and family.”

Update, Sunday, 9:30 a.m.

Congressman Lee Zeldin released a statement Sunday morning in response to the news that Ben and Bonnie Krupinski were on the plane that crashed in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Amagansett Saturday afternoon. William Maerov and pilot Jon Dollard were also on the flight.

“It is devastating news to hear of the passing of Ben and Bonnie Krupinski, William Maerov, and Jon Dollard,” said Mr. Zeldin in his statement. “I knew Ben and Bonnie well and was very saddened by the tragic news of their passing. They were a larger than life couple everyone knew, loved, and respected. They will be dearly missed by their family, friends, employees, and neighbors who adored them, their vision, love of flying, entrepreneurship, and devotion to the East End of Long Island. May all four Rest in Peace as Long Island prays for them and their loved ones at this time.”

Update, Sunday, 7:30 a.m. 

East Hampton Town Police confirmed around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday night that Bernard Krupinski, 70, known as “Ben,” and Bonnie Krupinski, 70, were passengers on the Piper PA31 Navajo that crashed in the Atlantic Ocean off Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett. William Maerov, 22, of East Hampton and pilot Jon Dollard, 47, of Hampton Bays, were also on the flight.

Police have recovered two bodies, but are awaiting confirmation with the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office before releasing their identities. On Sunday morning, East Hampton Police Chief Michael Sarlo said a search was ongoing and would move west toward Wainscott based on the tidal pattern and debris located from the crash.

Ben Krupinksi is the owner of Ben Krupinski Builder on Newtown Lane in East Hampton and has been a celebrated builder of homes on the South Fork for several decades. He and his wife also own 1770 House on Main Street, Cittanuova on Newtown Lane and East Hampton Point on Three Mile Harbor in East Hampton, and are co-owners of the East Hampton Golf Club with Ms. Krupinski’s family, the Bistrians, a well-known East Hampton family. The Krupinski family was also known to support a number of local charities and organizations.

Original Story:

East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo confirmed that a small plane with four passengers lost contact with the East Hampton Airport around 3 p.m. a little more than a mile south of the airport on Saturday afternoon. A commercial fishing boat located a crash site roughly a mile off Indian Wells Beach in the Atlantic Ocean. Chief Sarlo said the plane, identified as a Piper PA31 Navajo aircraft by the U.S. Coast Guard, was flying into East Hampton Airport.

According to Chief Sarlo, two bodies have been recovered so far. As of 6 p.m., he said he would not confirm published reports of the identity of the victims, given a full rescue and recovery effort was still underway and pending notification of next of kin.

“We have a full active recovery effort ongoing including the United States Coast Guard, the Air National Guard, the East Hampton Ocean Rescue Squad and the police dive team,” said Chief Sarlo. “This is an ongoing rescue effort.” Suffolk County Police and Aviation Department is also on the scene as are several commercial fishing vessels.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the Coast Guard Cutter Bonito, based in Montauk, recovered a second victim from the water near the crash site. The first victim was found on the beach earlier in the afternoon by East Hampton lifeguards.

“We are stricken by this loss,” said Capt. Kevin B. Reed, commander Sector Long Island Sound in a press release issued Monday evening. “Our deepest sympathies go out to the families and loved ones of the two recovered individuals.”

With access to Indian Wells Beach closed off by police, residents began gathering at nearby Atlantic Avenue, where police cordoned off access to the east. Chief Sarlo said he would update the public with information later this evening.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound command center at (203) 468-4401 or on the radio at VHF-FM marine radio channel-16.The cause of the crash is under investigation.

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