A small, single-engine plane crashed on to a Long Island railroad crossing Sunday, killing the pilot, injuring a passenger and shutting down service on a branch of the nation’s busiest commuter rail line, officials said.
The plane crashed at a railway crossing between the Hicksville and Bethpage stations of the Long Island Rail Road around 7:45 a.m.
Residents of a nearby senior living facility said they heard a loud noise and saw the craft on fire. Bystanders ran to the scene but had to get back because of the flames, Charles Terzano said. “It just melted,” he said. “It was a horror, a real horror.”
The impact left a mess of parts on the tracks, “just a pile of metal that was burning,” said Hicksville Fire Department First Assistant Chief Richard Diaz. One of the wings had been torn off, and the other left mangled with the body of the plane, Diaz said.
The plane had departed from Francis Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach. The pilot reported an issue and was trying to get to Republic Airport in Farmingdale at the time of the crash.