EAST PATCHOGUE, N.Y. (WABC) --Friends and family gathered Tuesday night in Jamaica Estates to grieve the loss of Hanan Shoshani after the plane he was piloting crashed in Suffolk County Tuesday morning, killing him.
"Everybody's in shock," said Josh Levy, a family friend.
Shoshani, who worked in real estate and other businesses, was flying his own plane Tuesday morning out of Farmingdale when he called the control tower. The Columbia Lancair LC 41, a single-engine propeller, departed Republic Airport and was due to land at MacArthur Airport in Islip. Shoshani told the tower he was having trouble, but never made it back to the airport. The plane crashed in East Patchogue in the backyard of a home on Camille Lane around 9 a.m.
The aircraft was on fire upon impact, and firefighters responded to put out the flames. Three people, including a mother and small child, were inside the home at the time and were unhurt. The house was not struck by the plane, but the subsequent fire damaged the structure. Several nearby homes were also evacuated as a precaution.
"The mother heard the explosion. There was shattered glass in the baby's room. Neither was injured. She removed the baby and left the house," Brookhaven Town spokesman Kevin Molloy said.
The crash sent smoke climbing into the sky as fire engulfed what was left of the plane. Shoshani was pronounced dead at the scene, and no other injuries were reported.
"This is a man who lived life to the fullest," said Ken Bigel, a neighbor.
The NTSB will lead the investigation into the crash.
Detective Lt. Kevin Beyrer of the Suffolk County Police Department said the plane was headed east, but was traveling southwest when it crashed.
"It's very, very fortunate that he traveled in the path that he did," Beyrer said. "Because of that, no one was hurt in any of the houses."
(Some information in this story is from the Associated Press.)