No. 10 Story of the Year: Trio of tragedies along L.I. Sound

12/23/2014 8:00 AM |
Zubair Khan in 2006 with his brother-in-law Umar Niazi. Mr. Khan was killed when his experimental plane crashed into the Long Island Sound near Mattituck. (Credit: Courtesy of Umar Niazi)

Zubair Khan in 2006 with his brother-in-law Umar Niazi. Mr. Khan was killed when his experimental plane crashed into the Long Island Sound near Mattituck. (Credit: Courtesy of Umar Niazi)

Three men died in accidents along Long Island Sound this year — one while flying a plane he built himself, a second while spearfishing and a third who was alone in his sailboat.
They were all doing something they loved.

Zubair Khan, 41, had spent the past two years converting a twin-engine CoZy aircraft into one with a larger single engine — a task many thought he couldn’t complete. Mr. Khan, a native of Pakistan and a veteran of its navy, was a software engineer who lived in Manhattan’s West Village.

The U.S. Coast Guard found his aircraft submerged in the water north of Mattituck the morning of July 7. He had flown from Brookhaven Calabro Airport the evening before.

While a parachute had been deployed from the plane, Mr. Khan was found inside the aircraft, according to police.

“Zubair was the most sweetest kid to hang around,” his brother-in-law Umar Niazi wrote in an email to The Suffolk Times. “His craze for planes and flying was right from the outset.”

Two months earlier, on the morning of May 5, the Coast Guard recovered the body of a missing boater east of Mattituck Inlet. Ciro Stellges of Selden, 59, was found during a search that covered more than 400 square miles.

The married father of four had called police a day earlier, saying his boat was taking on water three miles offshore. He had launched from Mattituck and was en route to Port Washington, operating a 26-foot fiberglass sailboat named MAC, police said.

The third death happened farther east, in Cutchogue, where 66-year-old Carl Czajkowski of South Jamesport died while spearfishing Oct. 14. Police had received a report of a scuba diver who hadn’t returned and launched a search with the assistance of the Cutchogue Fire Department and Southold bay constables. Hours later, Mr. Czajkowski was found dead in the water.

Comments

comments