NTSB investigating deadly Shirley plane crash

August 20, 2012 2:10:10 PM PDT
The NTSB is at the scene of a deadly plane crash on Long Island Monday.

Two people, one of them an assistant school superintendent from Orange County were killed in the crash, while a third person remains in critical condition.

The single-engine plane plummeted to the street in a fiery crash just before noon Sunday in Shirley, where neighbors tried to douse the flames with fire extinguishers and garden hoses.

"It bounced from the roof to the lawn, and it bounced in one of the trees," one witness said.

The NTSB has a team of investigators working at the crash site on Helene Avenue, which is barely a mile away from Brookhaven Calabro Airport, where the plane took off.

At lunchtime on Sunday, a brigade of neighbors poured out of homes moments after the crash, armed with fire extinguishers and garden hoses. They risked their lives helping Erik Unhjem and his wife, Jane, out of the burning wreckage.

But the third person, still alive, was pinned. 53-year-old David McElroy was nearly burned beyond recognition. He died in the flames, while onlookers watched in horror, unable to save him.

"The girls were crying hysterically," a witness said. "I felt so bad. It's really sad...They saw it, and they saw them die."

The wreckage won't be moved until the NTSB team gives the okay.

Jane Unhjem, a 60-year-old assistant school superintendent from Goshen, died several hours after being hospitalized with burns. Erik Unhjem remains in critical condition at Stony Brook University Medical Center.

Flags at Goshen Central School District flew at half staff on Monday.

"She was a very loving mother, had two children Gail whos getting married and her son she was a very loving mother and very involved with the wedding plans and looking forward to it," said James Kimiecik, Goshen Central School District.

The aircraft is a Socata TB10 and is registered to a man in Orlando, Florida, the FAA said. Known as a tobago, the model is no longer manufactured. It had been at the Brookhaven Airport for the past month.

CLICK HERE for images from the scene.

WAKE UP WITH EYEWITNESS NEWS! Click here to download the WABC Eyewitness News Alarm Clock app from iTunes. or search WABC or 7online in the app store.

Get Eyewitness News Delivered

Facebook | Twitter | Newsletters | Text Alerts