Onlookers heard engines sputter and fail during light rain

Plane Crash Claims Three Lives

Three people are dead after a plane crashed in the ocean off of Quogue Village Saturday, October 13.

Authorities have confirmed the body of the pilot, Munidat “Raj” Persaud, 47, was one of three recovered near where the plane went down at about 11 AM on Saturday. The bodies of two passengers, an adult male and female, were recovered Sunday.

Keith Holloway, a press officer for the National Transportation Safety Board, said his agency was still awaiting the identification of the two passengers as The Independent went to press on Monday, October 15. He confirmed there were three people on the plane.

“We haven’t recovered the plane yet. We are in the process of collecting information and checking
communications with air traffic controllers,” Holloway said.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s database lists Persaud as the owner of the plane. Persaud, from Westbury, CT, operated a flight school in the state. The plane that crashed was a twin-engine Piper PA-34 flying from Connecticut to Charleston, SC. It had touched down briefly in Danville and was only a couple miles from Gabreski Airport. Holloway said he had no information that the plane was going to land there.

Persaud owned two other planes involved in crashes in recent years, including one fatality, according to published reports. Another Piper Persaud apparently owned, a Piper twin-engine airplane, crashed into a mountainous area in Vermont in May and the pilot, the only passenger, perished.

According to Southampton Town Police, the plane crashed about a mile off shore of Quogue Beach on Saturday morning. Onlookers said there was a light rain failing and some moderate winds, but nothing extreme. Persaud, a father of two, had worked for several major airlines as a mechanic and operated Oxford Flight Training, in Oxford, CT, for more than a decade. Last year, he reportedly opened a second flight school in Danbury, CT.

Holloway said the NTSB will study weather patterns in the crash area as part of its investigation. He noted a bystander had indicated the plane seemed to fall in pieces into the ocean. Others said the engines were sputtering before stopping abruptly.

“We will be interviewing everyone who saw anything,” said Holloway. He said he did not know why the place touched down in Danville or if it was going to make an unscheduled stop at Gabreski. “It’s too early to speculate,” Holloway said.

It was the third fatal plane crash on Long island this year and second in the Hamptons, On June 2, four people, including Ben Krupinski and Bonnie Bistrian Krupinski of East Hampton were killed when their Piper Navajo went down off an Amagansett ocean beach during a squall.

rmurphy@indyeastend.com