Suffolk County

4 Guardsmen in Helicopter Rescue Survivor from Plane Crash: Gov. Cuomo

Four Air National Guardsmen rescued a man Sunday from a burning airplane after it crashed at a Hamptons airport, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. 

Two others died when the small plane crashed just before noon at Frances S. Grabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach, officials said. They have not yet been identified. 

The vintage propeller plane had been practicing takeoffs and landings when it crashed, the FAA said. 

A helicopter with four guardsman aboard was flying to the Guard's base at the airport for a training exercise with the airport tower told them a small plane had gone down, Newsday first reported

They went to the crash scene and rescued the sole survivor, according to Cuomo's office. 

"I commend the 4 @NationalGuardNY aviators who raced to the crash at Gabreski airport & rescued one of the victims," Cuomo tweeted Sunday night. 

The guardsman who was piloting the helicopter, CW3 Joseph McCarthy, told NBC 4 New York that he saw the survivor trying to escape the flaming wreckage. He said he landed the chopper a few hundred feet from the plane and fellow guardsman ran out to help the survivor. 

"He was stuck between what I think was the canopy of the aircraft. They were able to get that canopy open enough for him to get out," McCarthy said. 

The survivor, Richard Rosenthal, was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital, officials said.

Chopper 4 video showed the charred wreckage of the plane, a Ryan Navion F, in the woods off runway 33. 

The FAA said the National Transportation Safety Board will be in charge of the investigation and determine probable cause.

The airport is used by corporations and private plane owners, as well as the 106th Rescue Wing of the Air National Guard. It was built by the federal government in 1943.

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