Saturday, June 2, 2018

Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain, N41173: Fatal accident occurred June 02, 2018 in East Hampton, Suffolk County, New York

The wreckage of a Piper PA31 Navajo twin-engine plane that crashed into the ocean off East Hampton last Saturday afternoon, June 2, has been located and an additional victim’s body has been found, according to the East Hampton Town police chief.

Chief Michael Sarlo said in a statement issued shortly after 5 p.m. on Friday that the wreckage was discovered on Thursday afternoon approximately one mile off Atlantic Avenue Beach after an exhaustive search over the past week. He said police divers have been scouring the wreckage.

The victim who was recently located among the debris—one of four people who were aboard the plane—is being brought to the U.S. Coast Guard Station Montauk and then transferred to the Suffolk County medical examiner’s office. 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Farmingdale, New York

Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances.

Bernard J. Krupinski:  

Date: 02-JUN-18
Time: 18:33:00Z
Regis#: N41173
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA 31 350
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 91

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email 

Jon Kenneth Dollard Jr.

Some might say Jon Kenneth Dollard’s flying career started before he could walk. 

The East Hampton Airlines pilot grew up watching his father, Kenneth Dollard, now 80, pour his heart and soul into his job as an air traffic controller for the Federal Aviation Administration, where he worked for 38 years. 

Flying was in his blood.

“He was born with it,” Kenneth Dollard said of his 47-year-old son, adding that his youngest son, Christopher Dollard, 43, also is a pilot, first for the U.S. Navy and now for Southwest Airlines.

A Hampton Bays resident, Jon Kenneth Dollard, an instrument-rated commercial pilot with ratings for single- and multi-engine aircrafts, was well versed in flying his employer’s Piper Navajo PA 31. 

On Saturday, at approximately 3 p.m., the private four-seat plane in which Mr. Dollard was flying his employers, Ben and Bonnie Krupinski, who own East Hampton Airlines, and their grandson, William Maerov, crashed into the water roughly two miles off Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett. As of Wednesday, two bodies have been recovered, though they have not been identified, and the search for possible survivors has ended. 

On Monday, Mr. Dollard took comfort in the fact that his son died while he was doing what he loved. 

He recalled how thrilled his son was when he was offered the job working for the Industrial Road charter flight service approximately nine years ago. “He would always say how lucky he was,” he said. “He loved the company.”

More importantly, he loved the people. 

Kate Gilroy of Sag Harbor, a longtime friend of Mr. Dollard’s, said on Monday that the Krupinskis were much more than employers to Mr. Dollard: “They were like family,” she said. 

She recalled meeting up with Mr. Dollard when she moved to Sag Harbor four years ago, and going for dinner with the three of them via private aircraft. 

“That day, he had said, ‘I know you’re new to the area,’ and we went out to dinner with Ben and Bonnie,” Ms. Gilroy said. “He was a ‘no man left behind’ type of guy.”

Mr. Dollard and Ms. Gilroy’s older brother, John Gilroy, 46, had been best friends since 1980, when they were third-graders at Briarcliff Elementary School in Shoreham. Mr. Gilroy couldn’t be reached for comment. 

“We’ve been privileged with knowing one of the most considerate, compassionate, interested, engaging, chivalrous, intelligent, and quirky-silly-clever-funny spirits that many of us will ever meet in this lifetime,” Ms. Gilroy wrote in a Facebook tribute to Mr. Dollard. “For 38 years, Jon has been the Second-Older-Brother-I-Never-Asked-For and for the past 24 hours, the source of my Heart. Breaking. Over. And. Over. And. Over. Again—in a sick and surging ebb [and] rushing flow—made ever the more painful knowing there are those who feel his loss greater than I do.”

Mr. Dollard is survived by his wife, Ana Dollard; his mother, Jean Dollard, 71; his father, Kenneth Dollard; and his three brothers, Todd, Jason and Christopher.

Ms. Dollard could not be reached for comment.

Scott Santangelo of Hampton Bays said that Mr. Dollard would always rave about his wife’s cooking. “My wife is the best cook in the world,” he would always say. “She made the best turkey stuffing.”

On Monday, Kenneth Dollard described his son as a “very personable and friendly guy,” recalling the days he worked at World Pie and Bobby Van’s in Bridgehampton, and Oakland’s Restaurant in Hampton Bays, to help pay his way through college.

Vanessa Parsons of Living Art Aquariums in East Quogue recalled the late nights she would work side by side with Mr. Dollard at Oakland’s on Dune Road. 

“Jon was the kind of guy you felt lucky to know,” Ms. Parsons said. “If you’ve ever worked in the restaurant business, you know how quickly your fellow servers can become like family.”

However, the two shared much more than a few fond memories waiting tables. Ms. Parsons and Mr. Dollard shared a love of the sea, and surfing, as well as a love of music. “He was just great to be around,” she said. 

Christopher OKunewicz of Southampton recalled the frequent conversations he would have with Mr. Dollard, who would often be seen pouring drinks behind the bar at World Pie on the weekends. “He had such a warmth to him,” he said on Monday. “His character and his personality, he was such a really nice guy.”

Tom Logan of Shoreham was another close friend of Mr. Dollard’s, calling him an “extraordinary person.”

“To put Jon into words is almost impossible,” Mr. Logan said. “He was a free spirit who loved his brothers, loved his parents, loved his friends, and most of all loved meeting new people.”

He added that Mr. Dollard would make friends with anyone regardless of their “cliques” in school. 

“He saw no boundaries growing up,” said Mr. Logan, who grew up with Mr. Dollard from elementary school through high school. “He would go to the city with the skaters to ride his skateboard one night, and be with the wrestling team the next night. The following weekend, he would be off with his theater friends. That’s what I loved about him—he didn’t care what people thought about him. He just cared about people.”

In 1990, Mr. Dollard graduated from Shoreham Wading River High School, leaving behind the old memories to make new ones. 

He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Salisbury University in Maryland, where he roomed with Chris Rathmann of Catonsville, Maryland, for two years. “You are one in a million,” Mr. Rathmann said of Mr. Dollard on Facebook. “You made me laugh everyday.” 

In 2009, Mr. Dollard moved to Florida and enrolled in the Delta Connection Academy, which was then headquartered at the Orlando-Sanford International Airport before merging with Aerosim Technologies in 2010, and earned his pilot’s license roughly a year later.

“He got hooked,” Mr. OKunewicz said. “I think there are certain people out there who get the bug, and once you get that bug, that’s really it.”

Mr. Dollard’s passion for flying showed when he got his first job right out of school at Brookhaven Airport, where he worked as a flight instructor for a year before being hired by East Hampton Airlines. 

In recent months, he could be seen flying over Montauk with Ms. Gilroy, in the same Piper Navajo, helping her capture “amazing” coastline aerials for a climate change documentary focused around the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sandbag seawall project, recently built on the beach in Montauk.

“He was a larger-than-life guy,” Ms. Gilroy said. “If he knew that you were in need of something, he would help you make that happen. The world was made just a little bit better by having Jon Dollard in it. “

A memorial service honoring Mr. Dollard’s life will be held in the coming weeks, according to Ms. Gilroy’s Facebook page, though details are not yet finalized.

Original article can be found here ➤

Jon Dollard

Jon Kenneth Dollard Jr.

Search boats on Wednesday are expected back in the water to look for two of the four people aboard a small plane that crashed off the Amagansett coastline Saturday, authorities said.

Two vessels returned to port in Montauk at about 6 p.m. Tuesday after combing the choppy seas in the area where the twin-engine Piper PA-31 Navajo went down, said East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo.

Earlier Tuesday, Sarlo said choppy seas and the threat of afternoon thunderstorms had limited the efforts to just the two patrol boats.

The conditions also prevented dive teams from joining Day Three of the search for the victims and wreckage, the chief said.

Emergency crews found two bodies Saturday just hours after the plane went down about two miles off the coast of Indian Wells Beach. Sarlo had said Monday the search was now a recovery effort.

Police have identified the four people aboard the plane as builder Bernard Krupinski and his wife, Bonnie Krupinski, both 70, and their grandson William Maerov, 22, all of East Hampton; and the pilot, Jon Dollard, 47, of Hampton Bays.

A memorial service for the Krupinskis and Maerov will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday at Yardley and Pino Funeral Home on Pantigo Road in East Hampton. A funeral will be held for the three at 10 a.m. on Friday at First Presbyterian Church of East Hampton, followed by a burial at Cedar Lawn Cemetery in East Hampton.

It was not clear Tuesday whether services for Dollard had been set.

Tuesday’s search resumed amid choppy seas after East Hampton Town police suspended the water search for the second straight day Monday because of deteriorating conditions.

Strong winds and waves crested between 4 and 8 feet over the weekend and Monday, hampering the search efforts.

Waves in the area Tuesday were measured at between 3 and 4 feet, with winds ranging from 10 to 15 mph with occasional gusts of 25 mph, according to the National Weather Service, which forecast a 30 percent chance of rain at night.

Sarlo said the conditions made it too risky for divers to look for the victims and the plane’s wreckage.

“We have dive teams from the State Police, Southampton Town and our own dive team on standby,” he said.

Police officers continued mapping the search field and placing markers in the area, Sarlo said. Nonstop shoreline search patrols continued from Southampton Town to Amagansett, he said.

“We ask if anybody notices or spots any debris that they please call the police department immediately and leave it for us to come pick up,” he said.

East Hampton Town Councilman David Lys speaks about the recent crash of a Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain carrying Bernard and Bonnie Krupinski and their grandson William Maerov, all of East Hampton, and pilot Jon Dollard of Hampton Bays. 

Three days after a plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Amagansett, police are back in the water looking for two missing victims and parts of the aircraft. 

"With inclement weather forecast for later today, and winds already picking up, we are still launching at least one vessel this morning and will be working to coordinate mapping of the area off Indian Wells Beach in hopes of narrowing down the search field and placing markers," East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo said by email Tuesday morning. 

A Piper PA-31 Navajo carrying four people crashed at about 2:40 p.m. Saturday. Debris was found about a mile and a half off Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett. The four people on board were identified as Ben Krupinski, his wife, Bonnie Krupinski, their 22-year-old grandson, William Maerov, and the plane's pilot, Jon Dollard. Two bodies were found shortly after the crash, though police are waiting on word from the Suffolk County medical examiner's office to confirm their identities. 

The Coast Guard suspended its search Sunday afternoon as conditions worsened at sea. The police kept up a search along the shoreline, looking for any debris from the crash that may have washed ashore. 

"When the conditions are appropriate for divers and submersible sonar, we can optimize the resources available in the coming days," Chief Sarlo said. "A full operations plan for recovery has been developed which is both weather dependent as well as dependent on location and condition of what wreckage is found."

Chief Sarlo updated the East Hampton Town Board on the recovery efforts Tuesday afternoon, saying the department hopes to be able to recover the two missing bodies.

"Even though there aren’t high seas, it's very choppy conditions," he said, adding that the difficult conditions remained unsafe for divers. He hopes to drop physical markers to map out the area "so that when the conditions do break and we do have optimal conditions, we can maximize the use of time, shrink down the search area, and hopefully be able to pinpoint where the remaining wreckage is."

He again asked that commercial fishermen not drag or drop equipment in the area of the crash site.

East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc thanked those involved in the recovery effort. "Everyone involved deserves very high praise under what were very, very difficult circumstances. We are fortunate to live in a place that has so many dedicated volunteers and staff, " he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the plane crash. Terry Williams, a spokesman, said Monday afternoon that the N.T.S.B. is in the early stages of its investigation. A preliminary report will be issued in about a week, but it will not include information on the cause. "It will take approximately a year or more before the investigation is complete," Mr. Williams said.

The fateful storm off Indian Wells Beach at 2:32 p.m. on Saturday, June 2nd

A satellite/radar map is shown of Long Island's east end showing weather conditions around the time a Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain was reported missing Saturday. 

Ben Krupinski, Bonnie Krupinski, and William Maerov

By Dan Rattiner 

As of this writing, investigators are still trying to determine what caused the twin engine Piper Navajo aircraft to fall into the sea a mile off Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett last Saturday afternoon. Aboard that plane were 47-year-old pilot Jon Dollard of Hampton Bays, businessman and builder Ben Krupinski, 70, his wife, developer Bonnie Bistrian Krupinski, also 70, and their grandson Will Maerov, 22, who had just finished college at Georgetown. All died.

An hour before that plane crashed, I was having lunch on the upstairs deck at Baron’s Cove in Sag Harbor. It was a beautiful, sunny day, but then, as were drinking coffee, we saw ominous black clouds forming angrily in the sky to the south over East Hampton, Amagansett and surely the ocean beyond. A breeze began picking up. We asked for the check. Good idea to drive home before the storm hit.

Driving south, still in sunshine, on the East Hampton Sag Harbor Turnpike, I came upon this most astonishing thing. Just as I was passing the Ross School, about halfway home, there was a line in the road. Between the line and myself, it was dry. Past the line, it was wet. So there, crossing it, I was in the thick of it. It was dark as night. Huge raindrops thudded onto the car.

By the time I reached the turn where Cedar Street ends at North Main Street, I couldn’t see 10 feet and the floodwaters were up to my car’s running boards. Vehicles were sending billowing waves of water against cars coming the other way and thunder and lightning flickered and crashed. Frightened, I used my car cellphone to call my wife in Southampton to tell her to pull off the road if she encountered this storm.

She didn’t answer, so I left her a voicemail. I drove up Three Mile Harbor Road, and suddenly, as fast as it came, the storm was gone and the floodwaters were gurgling off into the drains. That was it.

The call to my wife occurred at 2:46 p.m. according to my phone records. I did not know this at the time, but at that moment, three miles away—two miles to the beach and one mile off its shore—the pilot of this plane, unable to control it any longer, lost his battle over the ocean. The authorities learned of the crash officially at 2:50 p.m.

The plane is one of several small planes that Krupinski owned. He’d enjoyed flying planes since he was a young man. And this one, a twin engine Piper PA-31 Navajo, had been one of his favorites. He’d owned it for at least 30 years.

Friends later told me that, at the time of the crash, the Krupinski family was returning from a vacation in Nantucket. Bennie and Bonnie, as friends refer to them, were in this plane with the pilot and their grandson. Other family members, including a granddaughter, were in a second plane that landed safely at East Hampton Airport. The plan was they would all meet up for dinner at Cittanuova, one of the three restaurants that Ben owns.

The last time I spoke to Ben was 23 hours before the crash. It’s not important, but it does underline the reason why the loss of this family has been such a blow to this community. About 4 p.m. that day, I had called Ben on his cellphone to ask if he would renew his annual support for the Dan’s Papers Literary Prize competition. Of course he would, he said.

It’s about philanthropy. Bennie and Bonnie made their fortune from almost nothing. Both were born and raised in this town, went to East Hampton High School, became sweethearts, got married and raised a family here. They are local people. North of the Highway people.

Ben’s father owned a grocery store. Bonnie’s father owned a sand-and-gravel business. One of Ben’s first jobs was working for Bonnie’s father. At the time of their death, they lived on Three Mile Harbor Road, just down the way from my house.

Here’s the philanthropy part. When Ben Krupinski went into business as a builder in 1980, the inundation of wealthy people coming to this community was just beginning. Ben decided that there were builders and there were Builders. Homes built by master craftsmen were needed now, homes that might cost a lot but would be as close to perfectly constructed as possible.

Other builders have done this since, but Ben was among the first to do so. Among his early clients were Christie Brinkley, Billy Joel, Martha Stewart, Adrienne Vittadini, Steve Cohen and Leon Black. Word got around. Today hundreds of construction people work for his firm. There are offices in East Hampton, Southampton and Greenwich, Connecticut, and the list of architects they’ve worked with is more than 30.

Ben also owned restaurants, some on his own, some with partners in town. The restaurants are Cittanuova, East Hampton Point and the 1770 House. But his judgment was not perfect. Sometimes you take a risk and it doesn’t work out. Ben built a Chinese restaurant on Pantigo called Wei Fun around 2006 that, after two years, failed. It is a business office today. The others are a big success. The Krupinskis also owned an East Hampton air charter service.

Did success change the Krupinskis? Yes, it did. They decided that they would donate a good portion of their hundred-million-dollar fortune to local charitable works—physically. Many of the public institutions I am about to mention were built either for free or at vastly reduced cost as the Krupinskis’ contribution.

Recipients of pro bono work were the Scoville Hall in Amagansett after it burned down, renovations at the East Hampton Ladies Village Improvement Society building, renovations and additions at Guild Hall and the John Drew Theater, renovations and additions to the East Hampton Library, the restoration of the Amagansett Life Saving Station, the reconstruction of the Fowler Farmhouse in East Hampton and, in Water Mill, the construction of the $60 million Parrish Art Museum, for which Krupinski won the contract.

The value of the savings to the East End for these works is in excess of tens of millions of dollars, even 100 million dollars. Thus my call to Ben on Friday. There is nobody, nobody, who does this on that level in these parts. The son of a grocery store owner and the daughter of a sand-and-gravel company owner did this.

The Krupinskis were witty and fun, and, staying behind the scenes, enjoyed an unaffected, private family life. My most recent encounter with Bonnie Krupinski came two years ago when I went to her office on Springs Fireplace Road, where her family runs their sand-and-gravel business.

I had noticed, while writing about the airport noise battle between the locals and the FAA at the East Hampton Airport, that there was another place, shown on a map of East Hampton, where helicopters could land. It was at the Bistrian Sand and Gravel headquarters on Springs Fireplace Road. I went there and confronted Bonnie about this, and we both started laughing.

Both of our homes are just downwind of this site. But it is an emergency chopper site. Never going to be used for commercial operation. I told her that Dan’s Papers is in favor of all public works in the town that make sense, except in this case, it’s too close to either my house or hers.

“Ethics only goes so far,” I said proudly. And we started laughing again.

I miss them. We all do. I am an emotional wreck over what happened to them and their grandson, who had his whole life ahead of him.

The New York media, in covering this tragedy, have described the Krupinskis as “builders to the stars.” They may have been that. But it does not even begin to describe what they were about and what they meant to this community.

Want another story about them? The press reports, correctly, that Bennie and Bonnie are co-owners of the prestigious East Hampton Golf Club.

It’s prestigious today. It was not prestigious when, 30 years ago, Pete Bistrian, Bonnie’s father, decided to make a golf course there with his bulldozers. It took him 20 years to complete. He liked golf.

Pete Bistrian owned all this land. On weekends, with the sand-and-gravel operation closed, he and his men would take their bulldozers to this land and clear out all the trees and shrubs for the 18 fairways. As weekend work, it took about a year to do this. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the town decided no, no, no, you can’t have a golf course here. A clubhouse is against zoning. Sprinkler systems were deemed inadequate. So the work stopped.

It stopped for 10 years, Bistrian figured he was done, and the cleared land was such a mess. But then an ingenious Riverhead lawyer named Bill Esseks got an idea. Bistrian had gotten planning board approval for the golf course landscaping years before. Just finish the fairways, put the greens in and start playing. But they won’t let me build a clubhouse, Bistrian said. So bring in a trailer for a clubhouse. It’s on wheels. It’s a vehicle. Like the landscaping, it doesn’t violate the zoning.

So Bistrian did that, members joined, the course opened and the town said okay, okay, we’ll give you a variance, build your damn clubhouse. So that is the history of this course, which today is, yes, prestigious.

Original article can be found here ➤


Anonymous said...

Very sad news ! Thunderstorms aren’t easy to spot embedded storms can hide in haze or large banks
This was surely avoidable . Pilot clearly was aware of cell activity in the area can’t believe there wasn’t a storm scope on aircraft

Anonymous said...

Weather briefing?

Anonymous said...

Weather briefing....plain and simple. How can you NOT be aware of what the weather was doing and/or going to do that day. Another senseless loss of lives due to incompetence.

And we wonder why our industry is so regulated.

Anonymous said...

I won't want to be on the water in that type of a thunderstorm, why on earth would you be in the air. Never never. No excuse for this level of incompetence. Everyone has a cell phone that gives very accurate weather radar. Paid the ultimate price in blood.

Anonymous said...

Seems like a rookie mistake to fly into bad weather. I suppose it could happen to any of us in a given situation. Just a short hop, weather observation was probably visual. Let this be a lesson to all that fly.

Jon Dollard
Date of Issue: 2/1/2012


Anonymous said...

Sorry Jon, it most definitely doesn't have to happen to any of us. This was a case of not respecting the moment and just plain incompetence. These people, like most accidents, TRUST us to do the right thing, make the right decisions. Live for another day.

Another sad ending to a preventable story.

8500TT ATP

Anonymous said...

They might have judged that they were far enough from the storm to avoid turbulence but there was a lot of lightning in the area. Can that bring down a plain like that?

Anonymous said...

Who cares. Just another rich sod with too much money, expensive toys and no good sense.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if they were on approach to runway 28, or had attempted an approach on runway 10 and had to abort? Indian Wells Beach is about 6 miles out on the extended centerline for runway 10-28. The NTSB report will be interesting as the aircraft with their other family members landed successfully just after the crash. I would like to have surface wind data at the time of the accident as I wonder if windshear played a role or if a microburst had been reported in the area.

Anonymous said...

No, they took off directly INTO a T H U N D E R S T O R M. This flight should have been stopped at the FBO. Plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

As I posted above, the pilot Jon Dollard was last certificated in 2012, what certificate I don't know (commercial multi or CFI). By virtue of the date he was probably a lower time/experienced pilot. This job may have been his first commercial venture.
My first commercial flying job was transporting time critical bank documents. I flew thru a thunderstorm in a Cessna 208B Caravan on the second week, single pilot. It was a frightening experience for a newly hired pilot that had never flow near a thunderstorm but, I knew I was being monitored and evaluated on FlightAware so here we go! I reversed course on the next thunderstorm a few days later and waited it out on the ground much to my chagrin. My employer and the bank were not happy either, there were 20-30 processors waiting on me to arrive with the 1000 lbs of checks that needed to be processed and a courier on the other end as well. Luckily, I survived to tell my story.