BETHPAGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An audio recording capturing the final moments before a plane came crashing down onto a railroad crossing on Long Island has been released.
Pilot Joseph Milo, 59, of Westhampton Beach, was killed when his small plane crashed onto the Long Island Rail Road tracks near South Oyster Bay Road in Hicksville on Aug. 16.
Milo crashed after being directed by an air traffic controller to a runway that no longer exists at a closed airport, according to preliminary findings released Monday by the National Transportation Safety Board.
Audio of the conversation was recorded by a website tracking aviation activity.
Milo: “I’m having a little bit of a problem. … I may have to turn to Farmingdale.”
Republic Airport Tower: “4-6 Charlie, sure, just let me know, uhh, what you need.”
Milo: “I’m going to have to take this down at the, the closest spot. Farmingdale is the closest, is that correct?”
Republic Airport Tower: “There is a strip at your 10 o’clock in five miles. Uh, Bethpage airport there. If you want to try that one. … It is a closed airport. I just know there is a runway there at about 11 o’clock in about a mile and a half.”
Radio and radar contact were then lost, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.
It is unclear whether the controller gave directions based on personal knowledge or Federal Aviation Administration records.
“We’re kind of a little confused on trying to get all the facts ourselves to feel peace and at rest that, if he was misguided, it was tragic for all of us, because he was just so loved here,” said Michele Bugge, a friend of Milo’s.
Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., said he, too, wants answers.
“You get in a car in my district and you turn on GPS and it tells you whether there’s a road there or not,” he told WCBS 880’s Steve Scott. “The FAA should have the same technology. The FAA should have the same ability. And we need to know exactly why this pilot was told or may have been told a runway existed when it didn’t.”