The dead man pulled from the water off Breezy Point in Queens late Wednesday after a small plane went down in the Atlantic Ocean was the only individual aboard the aircraft, the National Transportation Safety Board said at a news briefing Thursday.
The NTSB is leading the investigation into the crash of the Flight Design GMBH CTLS, a single piston aircraft that went down around 7:30 p.m. after departing Philadelphia en route to New Hampshire.
Heidi Moats, air safety investigator with the NTSB, said witnesses reported seeing the aircraft descend into the water.
A fuselage, pieces of fiberglass and a wheel have been recovered from the ocean about a mile and a half off Breezy Point, she said, and authorities were working to recover several more pieces of wreckage. The items will then be documented and taken to a secure location.
Moats declined to speculate on any potential causes of the accident. She did not identify the victim.
"At this point, we are looking into the man, the machine and the environment," Moats said.
In radio transmissions posted on Broadcastify, a member of the NYPD Special Operations Division is heard saying, "We just recovered part of the wing and are attempting to recover more of the airplane."
Then, "This is a confirmed plane. We are almost 90 percent sure that it is [inaudible] four- to six-passenger plane. We are standing by with what appears to be the fuselage and the tail of the plane, and we are waiting for SCUBA to arrive."
The transmissions were captured from roughly 9:15 to 9:30 p.m.
Moats said a preliminary report on the crash would be issued in about 10 days with a full report expected in about a year.