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Long IslandNassau

Investigators examine site of plane crash that killed LI pilot

A Cessna 303 aircraft crashed into a house

A Cessna 303 aircraft crashed into a house on South Smith Road in Union Vale in Dutchess County on Saturday. Credit: @MercedesTVnews

Federal crash investigators sorted out plane parts from household items Monday in the burnt wreckage of a Dutchess County residential property as they tried to determine what caused a Woodmere pilot to crash on his return to Long Island.

One big challenge for the National Transportation Safety Board is the fire, which burned some of the evidence, but investigators are confident they can still identify the cause of Saturday’s plane crash into a home in the town of Union Vale, said agency spokesman Peter Knudson. All of the aircraft and other evidence is expected to be transported by the end of Tuesday or Wednesday to a secure facility, he said, and a preliminary report is expected within two weeks, with the full report in a year or two.

Authorities late Sunday released the name of the pilot of the twin-engine Cessna 303, Francisco Knipping-Diaz, 61, of Woodmere, who died at the scene. The other man killed was identified as Gerard Bocker, 61, an occupant of the house, where Hannah Bocker, 21, and Sarah Bocker, 30, were also injured, police said.

The plane’s injured passengers, identified by police as Eduardo Tio, 50, also of Woodmere, and Teoflio Antonio Diaz Pratt, 52, of the Dominican Republic, have agreed to be interviewed Tuesday by NTSB investigators, Knudson said.

Authorities so far do not believe Knipping-Diaz communicated with air traffic controllers just before the crash and have not found any recordings, Knudson said. The pilot was flying on visual flight rules, which is not unusual in good weather and do not require regular communications between pilots and air traffic controllers, the spokesman said.

The plane had taken off earlier Saturday from Republic Airport in East Farmingdale with Orange County Airport in upstate Montgomery as its destination, authorities said. After the plane took off from Orange County Airport for its return flight to Republic, the aircraft landed at Sky Acres Airport in LaGrangeville to refuel, officials said.

Not long after the six-seat plane left the LaGrangeville airport it had "engine trouble, then went down," State Police Capt. Paul DeQuarto said Saturday.

The site of the crash is about 2,000 feet south of the runway at Sky Acres, an airport that serves small aircraft.


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