Details emerge as investigation of plane headed for Plainville that crashed on Long Island continues

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Credit: PIX11

SYOSSET, N.Y. — Officials are continuing to investigate why a small plane broke apart mid-flight, killing three people on board and scattering debris across a residential Long Island neighborhood.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Robert Gretz said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon that the primary goal of the recovery operation the night before was to recover the victims.

He said the plane’s pilot reported an issue with his instrument panel before the plane crashed in Syosset Tuesday afternoon. Gretz revelaed at the Wednesday press conference that the pilot reported “more and more instrumentation was malfunctioning, or not working” on the instrument panel.

He said it is uncommon for planes to break apart mid-flight. The plane was manufactured in 1973. Gretz said the NTSB is looking at radar records to determine if  weather could have been a factor.

He said on Wednesday investigators were still collecting pieces of the plane, stretched over a third of a mile. The engine and propeller were recovered and efforts were still underway to recover larger pieces of the airframe scattered in people’s yards

Newsday reports  the six-seat aircraft is registered to David Berube of Bristol. He’s licensed to fly and land multi-engine planes but it’s unclear if he was piloting the plane.

Two men and a woman on board were killed. The victims’ names were not released at Wednesday’s press conference, but police have reached out to the victims’ families.

A preliminary report is expected within a week.