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Authorities explain how they found site of deadly plane crash in New York amid 'impossible' weather conditions

The plane was traveling to the Cuyahoga County Airport from New York when it crashed on Thursday afternoon.

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. — New details are emerging about the deadly plane crash in New York state that claimed the lives of two men from Northeast Ohio.

Westchester County Department of Emergency Services Commissioner Richard Wishnie said the search was both on land and water as authorities worked to find the plane.

“One of the unbelievable events last night was the weather,” Wishnie said during a press conference Friday morning. “The weather was impossible. We could not use the drones that we normally would put up in the air. They were ineffective in the rain.”

Since the use of drones wasn’t possible, authorities decided to ping the cell phones of the pilot and passenger who were on board the plane.

“The FBI came into the scene and brought in some specialized equipment to ping the phones of those individuals that had been on the plane, and that immediately gave us a possible location,” Wishnie explained. “The coordinates were given and the rescuers that were already on the land proceeded immediately to that location led by the DEP [Department of Environmental Protection] team. They found the wreckage, the unfortunate victims that were on the ground and it was confirmed that they were dead. There was some wreckage in the trees and the scene was secured.”

The victims have been identified as Binyamin Chafetz and Baruch Taub. They were traveling to the Cuyahoga County Airport from New York when preliminary information indicates the pilot reported possible engine issues.

“The human element of this is what I think about,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer. “It’s what I thought about when I went to bed last night. It’s what I thought about when I woke up this morning. The human response of men and women who stayed at their posts went over and above the normal efforts. … People who went out during thunder and lightning last night, walking through pitch black, dark woods to try to find a trace of this airplane.”

Authorities said the area of the crash site will be sealed off and secured for several days as the wreckage is recovered.

“The area in question is heavily forested, so it’s not going to be an easy ordeal to remove the wreckage once the investigation is completed,” explained DEP Chief Frank Milazzo.

Chief Milazzo also said the aircraft was severely damaged, but large pieces are intact.

“Most of it is on the ground,” he said. “There is a little bit of it suspended in the air.”


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