Few Surprises in Preliminary Report on Krupinski Plane Crash

Boats searched the waters near the crash site off Indian Wells Beach on June 8, the day the plane's wreckage was found. Durell Godfrey

Nearly five and a half weeks after the plane crash off Amagansett that killed Ben and Bonnie Krupinski, their grandson, William Maerov, and their pilot, Jon Dollard, the National Transportation Safety Board has issued its preliminary report on the accident.

The report issued on Tuesday points, as expected, to bad weather as a major factor in the crash. Preliminary reports include early information gathered in relation to a crash, but do "not include analysis or determination of cause," an N.T.S.B. spokesman explained on June 4. The report lays out the known timeline of events, describes the meteorological conditions, and details the status of the twin-engine Piper Navajo in which the Krupinskis, their pilot, and their grandson were flying.

There are few surprises in the report, with many of the details it contained having already been shared by other agencies. 

The plane, which was owned by Mr. Krupinski, had its last annual inspection on Nov. 3, 2017, and had flown just 39 hours since then, according to the N.T.S.B.

The Krupinskis were returning that afternoon from Newport State Airport in Rhode Island, where they had flown earlier that day with another smaller plane also owned by Mr. Krupinski, to pick up the Krupinskis' granddaughter, Charlotte Maerov. The planes were to fly back to East Hampton together. The smaller plane left a minute before the larger plane.

The pilot of the smaller plane told the N.T.S.B. that he and Mr. Dollard had "talked for about one hour regarding the weather between them and the destination airport," according to the preliminary report. They had planned to head south together to Sandy Point on Block Island, "and then turn west and follow the shoreline" to East Hampton Airport.

After takeoff, the pilot of the smaller plane "contacted Providence air traffic control . . . and was informed that there was a 'bad storm' near HTO [East Hampton Airport] and it was moving slowly," the report states. That pilot told Providence air traffic control "that he wanted to fly farther south over the ocean and try to miss the approaching storm."

"He did not know what happened to the Navajo as he did not hear the accident pilot communicate on the radio," the report said. The pilot of the smaller plane flew back toward East Hampton Airport at 1,000 feet, according to the N.T.S.B., and landed safely.

According to the N.T.S.B., radar data from the Federal Aviation Administration showed the Navajo in front of the other plane by five miles. Six miles out from East Hampton Airport it was flying at 432 feet above ground level. It then climbed to 512 feet, and subsequently descended to 152 feet. Its last radar target indicated it was at 325 feet at about two miles south of Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett.

The Navajo's wreckage was found on June 8 about a mile off Indian Wells Beach and was examined by the N.T.S.B. about two weeks later. The full investigation into the crash is expected to take a year or more, according to the agency.