Suffolk Times: North Fork man killed in deadly plane crash

KAYLA CHIARAMONTE COURTESY PHOTO | Burning wreckage from the Shirley plane crash that took the life of David McElroy Sunday.

The Suffolk Times has reported that an Orient man was killed in a small airplane crash in Shirley Sunday morning that also killed one of the passengers of the plane and left a third person in critical condition.

According to multiple sources, David McElroy was inside and possibly flying the single-engine plane out of Brookhaven Calabro Airport shortly after 11:30 a.m. before it crashed into a dumpster outside a Shirley home a mile from the airport.

Mr. McElroy, the owner of the plane, was killed in the crash along with passenger Jane Unhjem, 60, of Goshen, N.Y., who died eight hours later. Another man in the plane Erik Unhjem, 61, also a pilot, was listed in critical condition at Stony Brook University Medical Center.

A witness to the crash said the plane navigated around several homes on the residential street before crashing into a dumpster, adding that he believed the pilot’s actions saved many more lives.

“I believe [the pilot] did everything he could to avoid hitting any houses,” said Chris Melendez, a homeowner near the site of the plane crash.

Mr. Melendez said he tried to save Mr. McElroy from the flames of the crash by spraying the wreckage with a garden hose, but was unable to reach him just a few feet away to pull him out.

“I wish there was more I could do for [Mr. McElroy],” he said. “It was just horrible. I’ll never be able to forget him.”

Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the crash.

Read the full story on The Suffolk Times here.