UPDATE: SUNDAY, 6 P.M.
The two victims were from Queens, according to Suffolk County Police. The bodies of Cyril Mclavin, 51, of Fresh Meadows and Andrew Messana, 72, of Bayside were recovered on Saturday night after Chesterfield Associates, a contracting company based in Westhampton Beach, lifted the single-engine plane out of the water, police said.
The case has been turned over to the National Transportation Safety Board.
UPDATE: SUNDAY, 9 A.M.
According to Suffolk County Police and Petty Officer Swanson, the plane was pulled out of the water by crane after 11 p.m. on Saturday and the bodies of two male victims were recovered by members of the County Police Marine Bureau. Details about who the men were was sketchy Sunday morning. Petty Officer Swanson said the families are being notified.
They will be taken to the Suffolk County medical examiner’s office for autopsy. The plane will be transported to the Impound Unit.
UPDATE: SATURDAY, 10:50 P.M.
As of 10 p.m. the pilot and passenger were still trapped in the crashed plane and have not yet been recovered, according to U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer Erik Swanson. They are believed to have been killed in the crash or in the aftermath, as the plane went underwater.
Good samaritans who were fishing in a boat in the inlet notified authorities and were first to the scene, where they attempted to rescue two people who appeared to be unconscious inside the cockpit, according to Petty Officer Swanson. They tied a line to the plane and secured the line to the shore to keep the plane from drifting out to sea. He said it sank within minutes of crashing.
Initial reports of the accident said the passengers on the plane were a male and a female, but Petty Officer Swanson said he could not confirm that since they have not been recovered yet. He said it is still unknown who the victims are and where they are from.
“It’s been a number of hours and it’s very sad, but right now we’re basically presuming them to be dead,” he said. “But we can’t confirm that until we reach them.”
Crews from the Coast Guard Long Island Sector and members of the Suffolk County Police Marine Bureau arrived shortly after the plane sank and have been working all evening on recovering the two people in the cockpit.
“It’s been a challenge,” he said. “The aircraft is in about 20 feet of water, and the cockpit door is against the jetty in the inlet.”
He said crews are figuring out what to do next, including bringing in a crane to help open the cockpit door.
“They’re looking at options on how to do this as quick as possible,” he said. “The crane is one option. They’ve been trying to do it with divers, and when the tide changes they can dislodge the aircraft, which may make it easier for the divers to get in there.”
Crews will continue to work on the scene until conditions become unsafe.
“It’s a priority to get them out of there as soon as possible,” he said.
UPDATE: SATURDAY, 9:10 P.M.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane is a 1946 Globe Swift GC-1A, which departed Spadaro Airport in East Moriches. The aircraft had two people on board and is still submerged 20 feet underwater, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. No official word on the status of the passengers.
A plane crashed into Moriches Inlet at 3:06 p.m. on Saturday, according to Suffolk County Police.
Witnesses on the beach heard the plane sputter and then saw it crash into the water, where it sank, police said.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the Suffolk County Police Marine Bureau responded. The dive team from Hampton Bays Fire Department is also confirmed to be at the scene.
County police are currently trying to recover any victims.