Cops: Report of plane crash in L.I. Sound a false alarm

08/31/2013 7:17 PM |
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead police Sgt. John Vail (center) scans the ocean as Police Officers Christopher Parkin (left) and Rich Freeborn watch on.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Riverhead police Sgt. John Vail (center) scans the Sound as Police Officers Christopher Parkin (left) and Rich Freeborn watch on.

Police and firefighters from across the area swarmed Long Island Sound just west of Iron Pier Beach in Riverhead Saturday afternoon after someone reported a possible small aircraft crash a few miles off the beach.

Authorities later said they were unable to find any sign of the supposed aircraft after a roughly hour-long search.

The report initially came in as a call to police from a group who were driving near the beach, police said. The group thought they saw an ultra-light aircraft flying near the Sound, but when they turned around, they could see no sign of the plane, police said.

Riverhead police, Riverhead and Jamesport Fire Departments, the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps, a Suffolk County police helicopter and the U.S. Coast Guard all rushed to the scene, said Riverhead police Lt. David Lessard.

Riverhead police and Jamesport Fire Department vessels were in the water searching for any sign of the plane near the off-shore oil terminal, but could find no evidence of a crash.

At 6:07 p.m., authorities called off the search. Lt. Lessard said the weather may have played a role in the false alarm.

“With the haze, maybe they didn’t see what they thought they saw,” he said.

psquire@timesreview.com