Federal investigators probed the site of a deadly small plane crash Wednesday as air traffic control recordings revealed the pilot sought help moments before his plane went down, narrowly missing two homes.
"I need your help, sir," the pilot, identified by police as Hanan Shoshany, said in an air traffic control recording archived on the website LiveATC.net.
"Are you declaring an emergency?" a controller responded.
Moments later, after Shoshany, 53, of Jamaica, Queens, radioed that he would return to the airport from which he took off, the plane crashed between two houses on a tree-lined street in East Patchogue. The street was reopened this morning.
The National Transportation Safety Board was on the scene Wednesday examining wreckage and carting away parts of the plane. The NTSB has a press conference scheduled today for 4 p.m.
The family whose backyard was badly damaged in the crash is staying in a hotel. The family whose home was also nearly missed has returned home.
The crash came four days after another small plane narrowly missed a house when it crashed north of New York City, in Purchase, New York, after taking off from the Westchester County Airport. Richard Rockefeller, the great-grandson of Standard Oil co-founder John D. Rockefeller, was killed.
Detective Lt. Kevin Beyrer of the Suffolk County police said the plane involved in Tuesday's crash was headed east but was traveling southwest when it went down. He said the National Transportation Safety Board would have to determine why the aircraft was traveling southwest.
"It's very, very fortunate that he traveled in the path that he did," Beyrer said. "Because of that no one was hurt in any of the houses."
The Federal Aviation Administration said the aircraft was a single-engine Lancair Columbia propeller plane. It was built in 2006 and was registered to Shoshany's address.
Shoshany took off from Republic Airport in Farmingdale and, before deciding to turn back, was scheduled to land at MacArthur Airport in Islip, about 20 miles away.