A small plane crash claimed the lives of an Irish immigrant and his longtime friend off Long Island this past weekend.

Cyril McLavin, originally from Dysart in Co. Westmeath was killed when his private plane spun out of control and plunged into the sea on Sunday afternoon.

The crash occurred near Fire Island shortly after takeoff before 3pm last Sunday, according to CBS New York.

According to police, the red and white Low Wing Globe Swift private plane had just taken off from Spadaro Airport in nearby East Moriches. The crash happened at the east end of Fire Island and the plane sank shortly after impact in about 15 to 20 feet of water.

The two victims were identified as Cyril Mclavin, 51, of Fresh Meadows and Dr Andrew Messana, 72, of Bayside. Their two bodies were recovered just after 11pm on Saturday night.

Susan Spadaro, the owner of the airport, said that the two men spent the day giving kids plane rides as part of a charity event at Brookhaven Airport.

“The only reason they took the plane out was to help at the event,” Spadaro told the NY Post.

“We had heroes for lunch, and then they took off. A few minutes later, they were gone.”

“They were great guys and loved to fly,” she added.

A witness who heard the plane in distress said he heard a loud noise.

“You could see he was in panic mode because the motor was sputtering and he was losing the motor,” the witness told CBS 2′s Cindy Hsu. “When he hit, a very loud noise and that was the last that would happen to him.”

The National Transportation Safety Board has begun an investigation into what caused the single-engine plane to crash.

Watch the CBS news report below: