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Jun 2, 2018 5:00 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

UPDATE: Memorial Services Scheduled Thursday At Funeral Home For Victims Of Plane Crash

State Police scoured the ocean shoreline at the end of Town Line Road on Sunday morning.    KYRIL BROMLEY
Jun 6, 2018 11:26 AM


A wake for the Krupinskis will be held on Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton, as noted below. Today's print edition of The East Hampton Press lists the wrong location.


The Bistrian and Krupinski families announced memorial services for Ben and Bonnie Krupinski and their grandson Willam Maerov, on Tuesday.

A wake for both the Krupinskis and Mr. Maerov will be held on Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Yardly and Pino Funeral Home on Pantigo Road in East Hampton.

An interfaith funeral service for the three will be held at the First Presbyterian Church of East Hampton on Montauk Highway at 10 a.m. on Friday.

The family has noted that space for the funeral will be limited even though the church is the largest in the area, as thousands of mourners are expected.

"They were loved by so many people, it is sure to be a very large crowd" Ms. Krupinski's sister, Barbara Borg, said.


East Hampton Town Marine Patrol vessels resumed the search for signs of the Krupinskis' plane on Tuesday afternoon, as seas subsided for a brief period.

With the U.S. Coast Guard having determined that there could not be survivors of the crash and suspended its search, the East Hampton Town Police are left to conduct the search for the two victims of the crash that have not yet been recovered. But searchers have been kept at bay since early Sunday morning because of high winds and rough seas. With winds expected to increase again later this afternoon and thunderstorms forecast to sweep across the region, East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo said that Tuesday's renewed search effort is expected to be brief.

"It's still very choppy and a pretty good sweep to the west so it's difficult conditions for us to deploy the side-scan sonar and submersibles and it's not safe for divers to go down yet," Chief Sarlo told the East Hampton Town Board on Tuesday, though he added that police are still conducting around the clock patrols of the ocean beaches between Amagansett and Southampton in search of debris, which has been spread west by two days of strong easterly winds, or signs of the wreckage

The chief said that emergency personnel are working compiling location data about the wreckage recovery effort from vessels that were on the scene on Saturday afternoon in hopes of mapping out the general location where the Piper Navajo plane is thought to have crashed, to speed searching when sea conditions improve. He said they expect to get a window of calmer seas for part of the day tomorrow and Thursday.

"We hope to...shrink down the search area and hopefully pinpoint where the wreckage is," he said. "And we're hoping to be able to recover the other two missing victims."

Mr. Sarlo suggested to the board that parts of the plane are thought to still be intact and that Sea Tow, working for the plane's insurer, would likely be enlisted to raise any wreckage that is located.

The plane was approaching East Hampton Airport, where the Krupinskis own the East Hampton Executive Terminal-based East Hampton Airlines, on a return trip from Newport, Rhode Island. It is believed to have crashed barely a mile off Amagansett's beaches shortly before 3 p.m., which is when East Hampton Airport called police to report they had lost contact with the plane.

Aboard the plane were Ben and Bonnie Krupinski, two of East Hampton's most prominent residents and business owners, and their 22-year old grandson, William Maerov, along with pilot and Hampton Bays resident Jon Dollard.

Two bodies were recovered from the water on Saturday afternoon but the identities had not yet been released by police as of Tuesday afternoon.

Chief Sarlo said that commercial fishermen have been asked not to drag nets or drop fishing lines in the general vicinity of the crash and that residents have been asked to call the police immediately if they spot any debris potentially related to the crash on local beaches.

The chief also offered the condolences of his department to the families that lost loved ones in the crash.

"The Krupinskis and Bistrians were a major part of our community and were extremely supportive of all of us first responders in the community," he said.

The chief and members of the Town Board also thanked emergency responders from the town's police, Marine Patrol, Ocean Rescue, East Hampton Lifeguards, East Hampton Village, Southampton Town, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Air National Guard, the Suffolk County Sherriffs office, Suffolk County Police and New York State Police for the help in Saturday's search effort.

"Everyone deserves high praise under what were very difficult circumstances," Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said.

UPDATE: MONDAY, 11:38 a.m.

The search for the two remaining passengers of the downed Piper Navajo is now being considered a "recovery effort," according to East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo.

In an email Monday morning, Chief Sarlo said that the Police Department and Coast Guard are monitoring the weather and have prepared all assets, including two East Hampton Town Marine Patrol vessels, and the East End Marine Law Enforcement Task force vessel, all equipped with side scan sonars, to return to the water as soon as conditions allow.

"Land-based patrols along the shoreline will continue uninterrupted regardless of weather," the chief said.

He added that police dive teams from the East Hampton Town Police Department, Southampton Town and New York State Police will be on standby should wreckage be located.

Additionally, representatives from Sea Tow, a maritime assistance company in Hampton Bays, are standing by with commercial salvage equipment and divers to be brought in for any salvage recovery efforts. Assistance from the air will be provided by the Coast Guard as well.

"We are coordinating recovery scenarios and have operations plans in place," Chief Sarlo wrote.

He added that authorities have requested that commercial fishing vessels refrain from using any dragging or deploying lines in the general search area.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are continuing their investigation into the cause of the crash, and the Suffolk County Medical Examiner's office is currently investigating the cause of death and identity of the two victims whose bodies were recovered from the water on Saturday.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of all those involved in this tragic accident," Chief Sarlo said.

UPDATE: SUNDAY, 2:55 p.m.

The U.S. Coast Guard and East Hampton Town Police have announced that the search for the Piper Navajo and its two missing occupants has been suspended due to "rapidly detiorating sea conditions."

"We are confident based on our search efforts that we've looked extensively at the debris area and where it had traveled. We are confident that if the missing people were on the surface of the water that we would have found them," Lt. Fagan said on the phone Sunday afternoon on behalf of the Coast Guard, which suspended its search at 1:20 p.m.

"This is always a difficult decision and we cannot imagine the pain of those families who have lost their loved ones," the Coast Guard said in a press release.

Law enforcement officials will continue land-based searches until conditions allow the deployment of the East Hampton Town Marine Patrol, according to East Hampton Town Police. The Southampton Town Bay Constable, East Hampton Town Marine Patrol and New York State Police are continuing to patrol beaches between East Hampton and Southampton Village searching for signs of the plane's missing occupants and wreckage.

UPDATE: SUNDAY, 12:15 p.m.

In response to the plane crash, East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc issued the following statement:

"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. 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 thoughts and prayers are with them, their friends, and family."


The search continues for the two remaining passengers of the Piper PA31 Navajo aircraft that crashed into the water near Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett on Saturday.

Coast Guard spokeswoman Lt. Alaina Fagan said that sea conditions are significantly worse than Saturday's conditions, making the search increasingly difficult.

"The weather has been deteriorating throughout last night," she said.

Patrol boats have reported 25-knot winds and six-foot seas on Sunday, an increase from six-knot winds and one-foot seas on Saturday, Lt. Fagan said.

She added that the two bodies that were recovered on Saturday were located "not far from where we expected the debris to be."


Congressman Lee Zeldin issued the following statement on the presumed passing of Ben and Bonnie Krupinski, William Maerov and Jon Dollard.

"It is devastating news to hear of the passing of Ben and Bonnie Krupinski, William Maerov, and Jon Dollard. 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, 9:30 a.m.

As the impact of the presumed deaths of two of its most influential residents reverberated through the East Hampton community, the search for the wreckage of their lost airplane and the two other passengers resumed at daybreak today.

East winds that have stirred rougher seas are making the search more difficult and the command center for the search has been moved from Amagansett to Beach Lane in Wainscott, which is closed to the public until further notice.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation but many have commented on the strong thunderstorm that had swept across the South Fork at almost the same time as the crash.

The captain and crew of the Montauk-based fishing boat Caitlin & Mairead, which was one of the first vessels on the scene of the crash yesterday, said that the strong squall had blown through right before reports of the crash.

"The weather was awful savage," said David Aripotch, the captain and owner of the Caitlin & Mairead. "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. We were 4 to 5 miles east so we headed there. Right after we got there we heard them say they had found [a body]."

Pollice have said that two bodies were recovered yesterday and brought to the beach by lifeguards who had sprinted to the scene from nearby Indian Wells Beach on Jet-Skis. The identities of the two known victims have not been released. The search for the other two passengers on the plane was suspended at dark.

"It was quite the horrific scene," said Douglas Davidson, a crew member on the Caitlin & Mairead. "There was a lot of debris. Socks, shoes, lots of clothing. The seats of the plane were floating. We picked up a purse. It was bad."

The occupants of the plane have been identified as Ben Krupinski and Bonnie Bistrian Krupinski, their grandson William Maerov and the plane's pilot, Jon Dollard. Mr. Krupinski is one of the town's largest employers across his several businesses. He owns the region's pre-eminent luxury custom home construction company, Ben Krupinski Builder, and a vast portfolio of commercial real estate throughout the town and in Southampton, including three popular restaurants. Ms. Bistrian's family are also among the town's largest landholders and operate two sand and gravel mines on Springs-Fireplace Road in East Hampton and are owners of the East Hampton Golf Club on Abrahams Path. They were also owners of East Hampton Airlines, a charter plane company based at East Hampton Airport—where the plane they were riding in on Saturday was heading when it crashed.

Both the Krupinskis grew up in East Hampton and were involved in a broad array of community projects. Mr. Krupinski was a frequent supporter of charities and non-profits, usually anonymously or by offering pro-bono work by his construction company, which rebuilt Scoville Hall in Amagansett after it burned down, renovated the Amagansett Lifesaving Station and the East Hampton Ladies Village Improvement Society and the East Hampton Library buildings. Ms. Krupinski has served on a variety of town panels and committees advising the town on matters ranging from development to management of the town's airport. In recent years she had frequently brought her grandson, Mr. Maerov, with her to meetings and discussions of issues in the town.

"They were pillars of the East Hampton community," East Hampton Town Councilman David Lys said. "They had a worldwide reach but they always savored calling East Hampton their home. They were always extremely philanthropic, in many ways that were unknown. And they cherished supporting the needs of their hometown."


East Hampton Town Police have named the four people aboard the plane: Bernard Krupinski, 70, Bonnie Krupinski, 70, and William Maerov, 22, all of East Hampton, and pilot Jon Dollard, 47, of Hampton Bays. The names of two persons whose bodies were recovered are being withheld pending confirmation by the Suffolk County Medical Examiner's Office. Members of the East Hampton Town Police, Marine Patrol, and U.S. Coast Guard temporarily suspended the search for the aircraft until daybreak, when the search will resume.


Jon Kenneth Dollard, an instrument rated commercial pilot with ratings for single- and multi-engine aircraft, was flying the plane carrying Mr. and Ms. Krupinski, according to a friend of the pilot.

East Hampton natives Ben and Bonnie Krupinksi have certainly left their footprints on their town.

Mr. Krupinski, who is widely regarded as the premier custom home builder in the Hamptons, owns dozens of commercial real estate properties in both East Hampton and Southampton, including Ben Krupinski Builder on Newtown Lane in East Hampton.

He owns three restaurants in East Hampton: the 1770 House on Main Street, Cittanuova on Newtown Lane, and the restaurant, hotel, marina complex East Hampton Point on Three Mile Harbor-Hog Creek Road.

Mr. Krupinski is a major supporter, often anonymously, of local charities and organizations across East Hampton Town. He often volunteered his crews to do construction work pro bono, including on the historic restorations of Scoville Hall in Amagansett and the Amagansett Life-Saving Station.

Ms. Krupinski's family, the Bistrians, are also one of the largest owners of land in East Hampton Town.

The Krupinksis are co-owners, with members of Ms. Krupinski's family, of the exclusive East Hampton Golf Club.


The two bodies that have been recovered from the water were brought to shore by East Hampton Town lifeguard Jet Skis, according to Chief Sarlo.

He added that officials from the Suffolk County Medical Examiner's Office are on the scene and that assets continue to search the area for survivors.


Coast Guard Cutter Bonito recovered a second body from the water near the crash site, according to an updated press release from the U.S. Coast Guard. The person's name was not released.

“We are stricken by this loss," Captain Kevin Reed, a commander at Sector Long Island Sound, said in the same press release. “Our deepest sympathies go out to the families and loved ones of the two recovered individuals."

Coast Guard rescue crews, local agencies, fishing vessels and shore units continue to search the area for the two remaining passengers.


Beaches from East Hampton Main Beach to Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett have been closed to the public.

Dave Aripotch, the owner of a commercial 63-foot fishing trawler, is patrolling the waters near Indian Wells Beach, searching for the three remaining passengers, according to his wife, Bonnie Brady.

Ms. Brady said her husband, who had been fishing roughly four miles away from the crash, had called her shortly after a "torrential downpour" in the area. He recieved a Pan-Pan urgency signal from the U.S. Coast Guard notifying him of the downed plane and has been out searching since.

Ms. Brady could not offer an update on if any of the other passengers have been recovered.


A private plane carrying four passengers—including Ben and Bonnie Krupinski of East Hampton— crashed into the water about 1 mile off of Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett at approximately 3 p.m. on Saturday, authorities said.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound received a call at approximately 2:50 p.m. on Saturday, reporting the crash, according to a U.S. Coast Guard press release.

East Hampton lifeguards have recovered one person and are actively searching for the remaining three, according to Ryan O'Hare of Coast Guard Station Montauk.

The Piper PA31 Navajo aircraft that crashed into the Atlantic on Saturday afternoon belongs to custom home building giant Ben Krupinski and his wife, Bonnie Bistrian Krupinski, who were both aboard the plane, according to a person close to their families.

Mr. Krupinski has built the palatial homes owned by such Hamptons luminaries as Martha Stewart and Billy Joel.

Mr. O'Hare could not identify a cause of the plane crash, only offering that it was around the time that thunderstorms had entered the area. "I can't confirm that was the cause," he said on Saturday afternoon.

The plane has not been recovered; however, debris has been found in the surrounding areas, Mr. O'Hare said.

East Hampton Police Chief Michael Sarlo confirmed that a small plane lost contact with the East Hampton Airport about 1 mile south of the airport. He added that private boats had located a debris field off Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett.

The United States Coast Guard, the Air National Guard, East Hampton Town police dive team, and the East Hampton Ocean Rescue Squad all responded.

Mr. O'Hare added that multiple fishing vessels were also on the scene.

Chief Sarlo could not offer any additional information, noting that it was an ongoing investigation.

Anyone with information was 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.

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Oh, how awful!!
By Miss K. (100), East Quogue on Jun 2, 18 6:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
Horrific news! :(
By Robert I Ross (250), Hampton Bays on Jun 2, 18 6:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Robert I Ross (250), Hampton Bays on Jun 2, 18 6:25 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Robert I Ross (250), Hampton Bays on Jun 2, 18 6:26 PM
Absolutely devastating for their family and the whole community. What a terrible tragedy. No words.
By localEH (424), East Hampton on Jun 2, 18 6:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
What a terrible terrible tragedy. The Krupinski's are certainly icons in the community
By Sandshark (2), Southampton on Jun 2, 18 6:55 PM
A huge thank you to all of the local first responders, fishermen, and just regular people who dropped everything to go try to help them. We truly have an amazing community when it really matters.
By localEH (424), East Hampton on Jun 2, 18 10:31 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By localEH (424), East Hampton on Jun 2, 18 10:31 PM
Laura, I’m so sorry. Get in touch!!!!
- Fishing Buddy
By The Royal 'We' (198), Southampton on Jun 2, 18 10:58 PM
God Bless the family and the responders...
By knitter (1858), Southampton on Jun 2, 18 11:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
Simply horrible news. He left his imprint everywhere always making the Hamptons better with every project he did. Very sad
By North Sea Citizen (562), North Sea on Jun 3, 18 6:59 AM
Such horrible news. I am thinking about the families of the other two men (one so young) also.
By Mrs.Sea (268), Sag Harbor on Jun 3, 18 8:42 AM
I just heard the 22-year old is the grandson of Ben and Bonnie. Just tragic.
By Mrs.Sea (268), Sag Harbor on Jun 3, 18 9:02 AM
Such a sad story. I know many many people are saddened by the loss of these four people.
By Rich Morey (370), East Hampton on Jun 3, 18 10:55 AM
How sad, three people from the same family. And the pilot, too. I’m in Water Mill & it didn’t even rain here yesterday. It’s amazing the difference 20 miles can make. I guess the storm swept down from CT and out into the ocean. Summer storms like that pop up unexpectedly and happen so quickly they are on top of you before you know it.
By btdt (449), water mill on Jun 3, 18 12:50 PM
I didn't know the Krupinski family and I am so sorry for their loss. I did know the pilot, Jon, and I am just devastated. My heart and prayers go out to all those effected Such a terrible tragedy.
By LocalEnthusiast (22), East Quogue on Jun 4, 18 9:52 AM
I didn't know the Krupinski family and I am so sorry for their loss. I did know the pilot, Jon, and I am just devastated. My heart and prayers go out to all those effected Such a terrible tragedy.
By LocalEnthusiast (22), East Quogue on Jun 4, 18 9:54 AM
Condolences to the families, a tragic event and devasting losses.

Was there a second plane which made it safely to the EH airport?

Rest In Peace.
By PBR (4947), Southampton on Jun 4, 18 10:12 AM
The debris field was heart wrenching, seeing all the floating wreckage and knowing that nobody could have survived the crash.....may God have mercy on them, prayers are with the family.
By mtkfishman (73), montauk on Jun 4, 18 11:54 AM
God rest their souls.
By mtk4ever (7), montauk on Jun 5, 18 7:58 AM
Do small planes like that have "black boxes" ?
By Rich Morey (370), East Hampton on Jun 5, 18 5:05 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Jun 6, 18 6:20 AM
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