NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A woman is dead and two other people were taken to the hospital with serious injuries after a small plane crashed into a concrete pier in Queens on Sunday.
The single-engine seaplane was left in several pieces, CBS2’s Cory James reported.
The FDNY said the crash happened shortly after 3 p.m. The aircraft was apparently traveling at a high speed, skipped on the water and crashed feet away from homes near Powells Cove Boulevard and 158th Street.
Witnesses that spoke to CBS2 described the moment they heard the plane crash.
“I heard a loud boom and I really didn’t think anything of it. We thought it was a just a truck accident and then my cousins and my dad screaming like look at the beach,” Whitestone resident Laura Belviso said.
“It sounded like a tractor trailer going through my room. All of a sudden I heard a big bang and I thought it was an accident in front of the house, but it was actually in the back of the house,” John Polito added.
“When I saw the plane I said, ‘Hey, can you hear me? Is anybody out there? Are you okay?’ And I didn’t get a message,” neighbor Ithina Kouzios said.
FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro provided more details.
“Witnesses said that the plane was traveling rather fast along the water, skipped twice and hit the pier. Why this happened, we have no idea right now,” Nigro said. “The assumption is he was landing, but all of that is still up for investigation.”
Witnesses said a man pulled up on his Jet Ski and raced over to help after seeing the plane go down.
“I ran up and hopped the fence in some lady’s yard. She’s like, ‘What the hell are you doing in my yard?’ I said, ‘A plane just crashed,'” that man told James. “I just hopped the fence, I ran over, I ripped the windshield out. I pulled one of the guys out. I ripped the door off.”
James has learned the pilot of the aircraft was Joe Oppedisano, owner of Il Bacco Ristorante in Little Neck. CBS2 interviewed him back in September for a story.
Neighbor Jason Antos said he just saw Oppedisano on Friday night at his restaurant.
“Well I know he enjoyed flying the plane. We hear it take off and see it land because I’m literally two blocks from his property. So we see it from my property all the time, him coming into the water,” Antos said.
At last check, Oppedisano and his male passenger were taken to the hospital and were in critical condition. His attorney told CBS2 the family is requesting privacy at this difficult time.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.
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