2 remain missing after deadly plane crash off South Fork

Posted: Updated:
AMAGANSETT -

Two people remain missing after a small plane with four aboard crashed off the coast of Amagansett Saturday.

The Piper PA-31 Navajo aircraft crashed about a mile off Indian Wells Beach Saturday around 3 p.m. So far two bodies have been recovered, but it's not clear which of the four victims were found.

East Hampton police say the search effort is now considered a recovery effort. The department says it's monitoring the weather and will continue searching for the wreckage and the missing occupants at sea when conditions allow.

The Coast Guard has suspended its active search for the two occupants who remain missing. But the agency says it will support an East Hampton police dive team that is planning to conduct a dive operation this week in an effort to locate the fuselage.

Police say the plane’s occupants included Ben and Bonnie Krupinski, both 70 years old, and their grandson, 22-year-old William Maerov, of East Hampton. The pilot was 47-year-old Jon Dollard, of Hampton Bays.

WATCH: News 12's Pat Cavlin discusses weather conditions at time of crash
VIDEO: Chopper 12 above small plane crash off South Fork

MORE: Interview with aviation expert after small plane crash

Ben Krupinski was known as a builder to the stars, having built houses for Martha Stewart and Billy Joel. He and his wife also owned several restaurants, and were known for doing a lot for the community.

Stewart issued a statement that says in part, "I am devastated by the news of the untimely passing of my dear friends, Ben and Bonnie Krupinski and their grandson William Maerov. Ben and Bonnie were my friends from the moment I met them in the early 1990s."

East Hampton Chamber of Commerce President Steve Ringel says the Krupinskys were known for their charitable work.

"Ben and Bonnie Krupinsky were pillars of the East Hampton community," Ringel says. "They were successful businessmen and quiet supporters of small businesses and nonprofits alike."

Dollard, the pilot, is being remembered as a funny person with a good heart. Long before he became a pilot, he worked as a waiter at the popular Oakland's Restaurant in Hampton Bays. The staff there said he had just visited a few weeks ago.

The FAA is investigating the plane crash, and while the cause has not been confirmed, authorities noted that extreme weather was reported in East Hampton around the time it went down.

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