NORTH LINDENHURST, N.Y. (PIX11) — The National Transportation Safety Board remained on scene in North Lindenhurst Monday, a day after a single-engine plane crashed in the Long Island hamlet.

The small plane from nearby Republic Airport crashed in a wooded area just before 3 p.m. Sunday, narrowly missing a residential neighborhood and Long Island Rail Road tracks.

“It definitely could’ve been a lot worse,” said North Lindenhurst Fire Chief Kenny Stallone. “Definitely a large residential area, lots of houses. Again, the fatality is very unfortunate, but this could’ve been a lot worse.” 

The plane was less than a mile away from landing when the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit.

Roma Gupta, 63, of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, was identified as the passenger killed in the crash. Her daughter, Reeva Gupta, 33, of St. Davids, Pennsylvania, was a passenger in the plane and remained in critical condition. The plane’s pilot, Fayzul Chowdhury, 23, of the Bronx, also remained in critical condition.

“[They were] severely burned, bruises cuts, scrapes – critical condition,” said Stallone. 

Oleg Dekajlo, the attorney for Danny Waizman Flight School, told PIX11 News that the trip was part of a Groupon deal for an introductory flight, typically designed for people interested in learning how to fly. 

Dekajlo said the pilot is a 23-year-old man from the Bronx who is a certified flight instructor. The plane reportedly underwent a 50-hour inspection at the end of February and a comprehensive 100-hour inspection at the end of January. 

Neighbor Kelly Watson was at home when the plane crashed, roughly a block away from her home. 

“All of a sudden it was a big ball of fire and then thick black smoke,” said Watson. 

Watson said she heard two explosions, and her house shook. 

“All the neighbors just started running out,” said Watson. “There was debris everywhere, there were bits of plane everywhere, trees everywhere, that it had hit.”