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Air Traffic Controller Directed Pilot in Fatal Crash to Nonexistent Runway

An official preliminary report was released on Monday, August 24 containing details about a plane crash on Long Island. According to the report, a pilot reported he was having mechanical problems with his plane and was directed by an air traffic controller to bring his plane down at a landing strip that had long since been removed at a closed Long Island airport. The plane eventually crashed at a railroad crossing nearby, resulting in the pilot’s death.

The 59-year-old pilot had been flying his Hawker Beechcraft BE35 from Westhampton Beach on eastern Long Island to Morristown, New Jersey. The plane crashed between the Bethpage and Hicksville stations of the Long Island Rail Road on the morning of August 16.

The report from the National Transportation Safety Board revealed the pilot told an air traffic controller he was having problems with his plane and needed to bring it down. The controller first gave the pilot some locations of nearby airports. The pilot said he would try to get to Republic airport but wasn’t sure he’d be able to make it, so the controller provided more information about “Bethpage strip,” where a former airport owned by defense contractor Northrop Gunman was once located. The controller told the pilot the airport was indeed closed but there was a runway there.

Unfortunately, the investigation after the accident revealed the former landing strip site is now inhabited by a number of industrial buildings, meaning the information the controller gave to the pilot was useless.

There is no word as to whether the controller will be held at all liable for the accident. For more information about filing a personal injury lawsuit after you’ve been in an accident, contact the trusted attorneys at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP.

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