Southampton Town Police confirmed in a statement on Tuesday, July 26 that two men, one of them 23-years-old, sustained serious injuries from a plane crash Sunday morning in Sagaponack. Both are receiving treatment at Stony Brook Hospital.
Above: Wreckage from the crash. (Photo by Michael Heller)
Below: An image from the plane in Sagaponack this time last year. (Photo by Daniel Gonzalez)
The antique plane was one of several participating Saturday in an “impromptu vintage plane club” whose members typically meet on a grassy landing strip that runs through Foster Farm in Sagaponack, Chief Wilson said Monday morning. He added that the exact cause of the crash is unknown at this time.
The Ryan PT-22 plane—a fixed-wing single-engine aircraft with an open cockpit—was manufactured in 1941 and deemed “airworthy” in 1956. It has been registered to Taylor R. Smith, 54, of Wainscott since at least 2008. Smith, who police confirm had been piloting the plane on Sunday, also brought the vessel through the skies over Sagaponack last year around this time for the same assemblage of vintage aircraft enthusiasts.
His passenger this year in the tandem two-seater was identified as Daniel Willman, 23, of Connecticut.
Though Chief of Police Bill Wilson said on Monday that he had received reports from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that the young passenger had died, he retracted that statement hours later.
In a follow-up statement released on Tuesday, Southampton Town Sergeant Lisa Costa wrote: “Both parties are being treated for their extensive injuries at Stony Brook Hospital.”
When asked whether or not the crash had caused any fatalities, Kathleen Bergen of the FAA commented: “You need to confirm the conditions of the victim with local authorities.” Chief Wilson has yet to return calls for comment.
Bergen added that the FAA has sent an aviation inspector to the scene to investigate the circumstances that led up to the crash.
A local resident who responded to the scene after the crash said the plane—which landed on the White family property adjacent to the Foster’s farms—had rolled several times before coming to a stop. Both the pilot and the passenger were badly injured from the shoulders up.
Police were initially notified of the crash at 10:13 a.m. on Sunday, after having received “multiple calls” of a small plane cash in the area of Sagg Main Street and Bridge Lane, according to a press release issued by Sergeant Lewis Scott that afternoon. Southampton Town Police Officers and members of the Bridgehampton Fire Department were dispatched to the scene. After “a brief search,” they recovered the two-seater in a cornfield.
Southampton Town Police say several other local agencies assisted town police and FAA officials after the crash. They include: The Bridgehampton Fire Department, the Southampton Fire Department, the New York State Police, Suffolk County Aviation, the Southampton Town Fire Marshall and the DEC.