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Three Men Killed After Small Plane Crash

July 8, 2003

MONTAUK, N.Y. (AP) _ The bodies of three men were recovered Monday after a small plane crashed in a pond on Long Island, authorities said.

It was not immediately known when the twin-engine Seneca crashed or what flight path it took after leaving Montauk Airport.

According to Keith Holloway, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, the plane went down shortly after taking off from the small airport at 1 a.m. Monday.

But the airport manager, Helen Gill, said she believed the plane took off Sunday evening and crashed then.

No flight plan was submitted, and the airport has no control tower. Authorities said the wreckage was discovered about 10:30 a.m. Monday.

The crash site was less than a quarter-mile from the airport runway, according to Phil DiGrazia, a pilot who saw the wreckage as he landed Monday.

``Most of it was submerged,″ he said. ``Just a small portion of it was sticking out of the water.″

East Hampton police identified the victims as Robert Hecker, 39, of Bellmore; Stephen Lally, 44, of Staten Island; and John Wade, 44, of Long Island City, Queens. Hecker was identified as the owner and pilot.

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