East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo announced Wednesday afternoon that the search has been called off for the last remaining victim to be recovered from a fatal plane crash off Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett last weekend.
“As of 3 p.m. today, the East Hampton Town Police Department has called off the search for the remaining missing victim, William Maerov, 22, of East Hampton,” wrote Chief Sarlo in an email. Chief Sarlo also confirmed the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office had identified a body recovered from underwater plane wreckage on Friday as that of pilot Jon Dollard, 47, of Hampton Bays.
Until Wednesday, East Hampton Town Police continued to search the a debris field in the ocean for Mr. Maerov. He was killed in a plane crash on the afternoon of June 2 with his grandparents, Bernard “Ben” and Bonnie Krupinski, 70, and Mr. Dollard. The twin engine Piper PA31 Navajo crashed a little over a mile off the beach in Amagansett as a storm rolled through East Hampton. Police found two bodies the afternoon of the crash. They were later identified as Mr. and Mrs. Krupinski.
On Friday afternoon, Chief Sarlo announced police had located the plane, and the town police dive team — led by Lt. Peter Powers — had recovered a third body from the wreckage, which was found 40 to 45 feet below the surface of the ocean.
The Krupinskis were well known on the East End for various real estate holdings and a string of successful businesses, including his construction company and three popular restaurants in East Hampton. A funeral mass was held Friday for both Mr. and Mrs. Krupinski and Mr. Maerov, drawing hundreds to the East Hampton Presbyterian Church on Main Street.
“We were faced with an extremely challenging and difficult logistical operation, and we continue to evaluate the best options available to us,” said Chief Sarlo on Tuesday, prior to the search for Mr. Maerov being called off. He praised outside agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard, and county and state police, for their assistance during the recovery effort, and in locating the wreckage field.
“With no eyewitnesses and the initial flight data not providing a definitive coordinate, our search field was very large and became more focused as the FAA was able to provide more data and the Coast Guard was able to make calculations based on tidal sweep,” said Chief Sarlo. “This led us to the area of Atlantic Avenue and ultimately locating the crash site Thursday.”
On Tuesday, Chief Sarlo said most of the wreckage has been salvaged and removed to an off-site location.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the accident.
The Krupinski, Bistrian, Maerov and Dollard families have also made a request to the public at large that they turn over any debris discovered on the beach or in the water that could be related to the crash to police.
“If you are boating or beach walking, and find anything you believe may assist the investigation into the plane crash on the ocean at Indian Wells Beach, please contact your local police department,” read a statement from the family. The East Hampton Town Police can be reached at (631) 537-7575. The Southampton Town Police can be reached at (631) 728-3400.