1 dead when small plane crashes on Long Island

October 18, 2010 4:16:24 AM PDT
One person is dead and three others seriously injured after a single engine prop plane went down at 9 a.m. Sunday after taking off from Republic Airport.

Authorities say 75-year-old Ed Cerverizzo died in the crash.

"I just wished I could have said I loved him," the victim's son, Michael Cerverizzo, said.

Cerverizzo says he wishes he could still tell his father those words.

Ed Cerverizzo was killed when the small plane he was riding in with his three best friends crashed Sunday morning.

"My dad's been flying for over 40 years, there's a lot of experience in that cockpit, something had to go really wrong," Michael Cerverizzo said.

"It sounded like a bomb, sounded like a bunch of sticks of dynamite, it's just huge," said Robert Anthony, a neighborhood resident.

The sound Anthony heard was the 1969 SIAI-Marchetti crashing right outside of his home, right in the middle of East Carmans Road.

Robert and several others ran to help the severely injured, which included Cerverizzo, 55-year-old pilot Gus Halouvas and two other men.

"We cut the belts out, we had to get them out quick because the fuel was on the ground," Anthony said.

Authorities say just a few minutes earlier, the small plane left Republic Airport at Runway 32.

A FAA spokesperson says the pilot was practicing routine landings, known as touch and go's.

Though the tower did not receive any kind of distress call, something went wrong.

Bob Case's plane is tied down next the one involved, which investigators say may have had engine problems.

"If you're over 800 to 1,000 feet, you can make it back to the runway," Case said. "Under that, the turn effect takes lift away from the plane, as you turn you're falling further towards the ground."

Many in the area credit the pilot for landing the way he did.

Besides clipping a few trees, a light pole and several parked cars, no one on the ground was hurt.

It's something people living in the area constantly worry about.

"It seems to us any kind of concerns get pushed to the side and the pilots associations seems to run what goes on in the neighborhood," resident Jackie Herrmann said.

Cerverizzo was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital in Massapequa, where he was pronounced dead. Halouvas, of North Bellmore, was taken to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow with spinal injuries.

Passenger William Mancusi, 83, of Brooklyn was taken to Nassau University Medical Center for treatment of facial lacerations. Passenger Charles Bianculli, 61, of Lindenhurst, was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, where he was listed in critical condition.

The plane crashed right next to an East Farmingdale fire department station, so the response was almost immediate.