Plane crash: Pilot, passenger exiting small plane from JFK Airport found dead near crash site in Westchester County

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WHITE PLAINS, New York (WABC) — The wreckage of that small plane that crashed after disappearing in Westchester County remains tangled in a heavily wooded area on Friday.

The bodies of the two men inside the plane were located nearby.

Authorities say the pilot and passenger were members of Cleveland’s Jewish community. They are identified as Baruch Taub and Benjamin Chafitz.

Westchester County Police said the aircraft, a single-engine Beechcraft A36, was located late on Thursday in an area surrounded by trees following a local search and rescue operation.

The plane took off from JFK International Airport shortly after 5 pm bound for Cuyahoga County Airport, south of Cleveland.

Shortly after takeoff, the pilot reported a loss of oil pressure while flying over Long Island Sound. FAA air traffic controllers lost radar and radio contact with the aircraft at 5:30 pm

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said the plane crashed about two miles from Westchester County Airport in Loudon Point Woods, a 162-acre wooded area adjacent to Lake Rye.

An extensive search followed. Officials said it was complicated by rain and thunderstorms, which prevented the use of drones in an attempt to locate the wreckage, and the heavily wooded terrain.

The teams were finally able to use pings from the victims’ cell phones to locate the downed plane.

The bodies of the pilot and passenger were recovered at 10:55 pm, more than five hours after the accident.

Officials say the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating.

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