MASTIC BEACH, N.Y (WPIX) -- Rescue agencies are trying to figure out what caused a single-engine vintage World War II-era plane to crash off the waters of Mastic Beach, killing the pilot aboard the aircraft.
Robert Baranaskas, 61, of Northport, took off from Brookhaven Airport at about 1:09 p.m, and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean sixteen minutes later, just east of the TWA Flight 800 Memorial site at Smith Point park, according to officials.
Coast Guard officials say the pilot was the only person aboard the aircraft when it went down. So far, his body has not been recovered.
During the time of the crash, Baranaskas was practicing aerial maneuvers for an upcoming show he would be performing in.
According to Suffolk County police, the victim's son, Chris Baranaskas 28, who reportedly often performed in his own vintage fighter plane, witnessed the entire incident. On the beach, he was serving as his father's spottter-a person on the ground who communicates with the pilot in order to warn of any other aircraft nearby.
"He climbed up, then came down like a corkscrew," a witness told Newday.
People close to the beach reportedly saw a plume of black smoke and a 20-foot splash of water when the plane went down.
The National Transportation Safety Board is expected to begin an investigation into the crash Monday morning, according to rescue agencies.
Pilot Dies in Long Island Plane Crash
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