The small plane that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean south of Breezy Point on Wednesday night, killed a New Hampshire man who was returning from a Philadelphia-area airport, according to police and flight records.
The NYPD confirmed the victim was James B. McGee, 57, of Rye, New Hampshire.
McGee's body was pulled from the water near the wreckage of the single-engine Flight Design CTLS fixed-gear light sport aircraft. A police spokesman said Thursday they think he was alone when the plane crashed sometime around 7:50 p.m. off the Rockaway peninsula.
The wreckage was discovered about 1 1/2 miles off Beach 215th Street and Breezy Point Boulevard about 8:30 p.m. by aviation and marine search teams responding to a 911 call reporting the crash, police said. The FDNY also responded.
An NYPD spokesman said Wednesday night that police had received "reports of something going down in the water with lights on." Police have not provided a detailed list of debris or items recovered so far.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday that it will investigate the circumstances of the crash. In a tweet, the National Transportation Safety Board said it also is investigating.
A photograph released by the NYPD Special Operations Division showed the tail section and what appeared to be part of a wing and the aircraft fuselage floating in the water.
The airplane manufacturer's website shows the plane is a high-wing design with fixed tricycle landing gear and describes the aircraft as a two-seater with a cruising speed of 115 knots, or 132 mph. The plane has a flight range of about 1,000 miles.
Records from Flightradar24, which provides flight tracking, show the airplane left New Hampshire on Tuesday and landed at Northeast Philadelphia Airport, a regional airfield, later that day.
Tracking data for that flight, however, was incomplete -- the flight track stopping near East Lyme, Connecticut, then picking up again near Westhampton Beach -- though that may be the result of the aircraft traveling under radar for the section of flight across the Long Island Sound and the East End.
Flight data records show the plane left Northeast Philadelphia Airport on Wednesday, before crashing off Breezy Point.