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Plane in deadly Westhampton Beach crash removed from the scene, NTSB says


On Tuesday morning, Feb. 28, 2017, the single-engine plane that crashed into a wooded area adjacent to Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach on Sunday, killing two people and injuring a third, was removed from the crash site. NTSB officials said that the plane was taken to an undisclosed, secure facility.  Credit: Newsday / James Carbone

The vintage single-engine plane that crashed in a wooded area just beyond Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach, killing two and injuring one, has been removed from the site and transported to an undisclosed secure facility, an NTSB official said Tuesday.

The plane was removed Tuesday morning, concluding the board’s on-scene portion of the investigation, said National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Keith Holloway.

A preliminary report from NTSB investigators is expected in 10 to 20 days and a final report, on what caused the crash, may take up to 18 months.

On Monday, an NTSB official there was no early sign of mechanical problems or a medical emergency as the cause of the fiery crash of a vintage single-engine plane in Westhampton Beach that killed two people and injured a third.

The pilot of the plane, which went down at about 11:40 a.m. Sunday, had been cleared to do practice takeoffs and landings. He did not call for help before the aircraft slammed into a wooded area adjacent to the airport and burst into flames, said Daniel Boggs, an air safety investigator for the NTSB.

“There’s no indication of any mechanical deficiencies at this time, but we are just now starting the investigation and looking at that,” said Boggs, who spoke at a news briefing Monday at the airport.

Boggs said investigators want to interview the survivor, identified by State Police Monday as the pilot, Richard Rosenthal, 61, of Huntington Station, but he remains hospitalized and cannot speak.

Killed in the crash were flight instructor Arieh Narkunski, 64, of Brooklyn, and passenger Robert A. Wilkie, 65, of Hempstead, police said.

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