A pilot was killed after an air traffic controller directed him to land on a runway that no longer exists, a preliminary accident report has found.
Joseph Milo, 59, died when his single-engine Hawker Beechcraft BE35 crashed onto a Long Island rail road crossing in Hicksville on August 16.
Miraculously his passenger, Carl Giordano, 55, survived the crash.
Mr Milo started to experience mechanical difficulties shortly after taking off from his hometown in Westhampton Beach on his way to Morristown, New Jersey, the report said.
He radioed the nearest airport – the Republic Airport in Farmingdale – and said he needed to take his plane down, the New York Post reports.
An air-traffic controller gave him information about the locations of Republic, La Guardia, Kennedy and Westchester airports but Mr Milo said he was having altitude difficulties and worried he would not make it.
He was instructed to try to make it to ‘Bethpage strip’ which has been closed for decades.
The report by the National Transportation Safety Board said the unidentified controller insisted there was still a usable runway there.
But Mr Milo could not find the landing strip, which had long been replaced by industrial buildings, and crashed into the railway crossing, just a quarter of a mile away.
Residents of a nearby senior living facility said they heard a loud noise and saw the craft on fire.
Bystanders ran to the scene but had to get back because of the flames.
Mr Giordan, of New Vernon, New Jersey, suffered a broken jaw, cuts and bruises, officials said at the time.