Service on the LIRR Ronkonkoma line was fully restored Sunday night after a deadly small plane crash near a Hicksville railroad crossing.
No delays in service were expected for Monday morning's commute, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said Sunday, after service was suspended as authorities conducted their investigation and cleared the plane wreckage from the scene.
The plane, a Beechcraft C-35 Bonanza, crashed between the Hicksville and Bethpage Long Island Rail Road stations shortly before 8 a.m., destroying signal lights at the South Oyster Bay Road crossing and forcing a suspension of the Ronkonkoma line in both directions that lasted more than 12 hours.StoryOfficials: Pilot dies in plane crash on LIRR tracks
LIRR officials announced service was fully restored about 8:45 p.m.
The pilot, who had not been identified late Sunday night, died. Passenger Carl Giordano, 55, of New Vernon, New Jersey, was in critical condition at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow.
The airplane wreckage was removed in the early evening, but before that an LIRR repair crew had to wait for emergency personnel, the medical examiner's office and an investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board to finish their work so damage could be assessed.
MTA spokesman Salvatore Arena said the damage appeared to be two to three lengths of track that needed to be replaced and damage to the third rail. The crossing gate also was damaged by the small plane and needed to be repaired, he said.
Arena said it was "lucky" that there were no trains in the area at the time and that traffic on the four-lane road was light. Two trains that were en route to the crossing were forced to turn around.
The repair work will likely require completely replacing some of the crossing safety equipment, which was destroyed in the crash. Arena said the LIRR could likely operate through the crossing at reduced speed, with police assistance, even without working gates.
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