Plane crash… sort of
Seaplane that crashed into the Great South Bay.

SCN/Liz Finnegan

Plane crash… sort of


BAYPORT—Bayfront resident Peter Williams woke up Tuesday morning to an unusual sight from his bedroom window. “I saw a plane sputtering around [in the bay] like it was in trouble. Then I saw it go [under] the water,” Williams said. He called 911 and headed down to see if he could help.

Suffolk County Police Marine Bureau officers received the emergency call at approximately 6:45 a.m.  They responded to the report that a seaplane crashed into the Great South Bay.

Williams said he got into his boat and headed toward the seaplane. As he approached the scene, the pilot was standing on the tail. He threw the pilot a line and began towing him to shore. “It wasn’t easy,” Williams said, noting that conditions on the water were choppy and it was windy. He added that the plane began to break apart. By then, emergency personnel had arrived and brought the pilot, who appeared unhurt, onto their boat.

The pilot, Joseph Cannizzaro, 57, of Bayport, had attempted to fly a seaplane from the Great South Bay off of Gerritsen Avenue beach when the pontoon and the left wing caught water, causing the seaplane to crash into the bay. The seaplane had achieved very little altitude.

 Marine Bureau officers towed the seaplane to a nearby beach adjacent to Homan’s Creek in Bayport. Emergency Services officers also assisted.

 Members from the Community Ambulance from Sayville examined the pilot, but he refused medical attention. The FAA investigated the incident, and the seaplane was then released to Cannizzaro.

Local resident Tonia Parente said she ran to the beach to see what was happening as soon as she heard about the crash on the television. “I’ve never seen something like this happen so close [to home] before,” she said.