What to Know
- One person was killed when a small plane crashed on Long Island on Wednesday afternoon, according to authorities
- The plane was part of the Geico Skytypers and was set to perform in last weekend's canceled Jones Beach Air Show
- Images from the scene in Melville show firefighters responding to the wreckage; no other injuries or damage to homes was reported
A pilot was killed when a small plane went down on Long Island Wednesday afternoon, according to authorities.
The single-engine, two-seater plane crashed on Northcote Drive near Spagnoli Road in Melville about 2 p.m., according to a representative for the town of Huntington.
Pilot Ken Johansen was the only one on board the plane when it crashed, according to Geico Skytypers, the Republic Airport-based aerobatic group that owns the plane and flies WWII-era training planes.
The Skytypers had six planes flying in formation to Maryland before one spiraled out of control.
Johansen was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a Naval aviator and a professional airline pilot, according to Skytypers. A native of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, he lived in Port Washington with his wife and two children.
According to aviation officials, the plane involved was a T6 Texan, a high-performance World War II-era training craft. The Skytypers were scheduled to fly at the canceled Jones Beach Air Show last weekend.
"A careful and thorough investigation is already underway. We are working with local law enforcement, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Transportation Safety Board," a spokeswoman for Skytypers said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with Ken and his family."
Johansen first flew with the Skytypers at the age of 8, according to his bio posted on the stunt team's website. It said he "caught the aviation bug early in his life" from his Skytyping instructor pilot father.
@Newsday @LongIslandPress @longislandernws @News12LI : A small plan crashed in front of my house on Northcote Drive in Melville pic.twitter.com/IEkpILeOMH— Lauren Peller (@lauren_peller) May 30, 2018
The Skytypers performed at last weekend's Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach.
Photos of the wreckage show thick black smoke and raging orange flames.
College student Lauren Peller, 19, was in her home with her mother when the plane went down across the street next to woods.
"We heard a loud noise, almost like a tree fell on the house, and we ran down the stairs and there was smoke and the plane was on fire," said Peller, adding that her mother then called 911.
"It's extremely lucky that nothing was hit," said Melville First Assistant Fire Chief David Kaplan. "Houses were approximately 200 feet away."
Accountant Lou Scaglione told Newsday he was eating lunch when he noticed five World War II planes. Then he said there were only four planes and he saw smoke over the trees.
"It's heartbreaking," Scaglione said. "These planes are part of Long Island. It's a shame that one of them is down over there."