The August 16th plane crash that claimed the life of Westhampton Beach restaurateur Joseph Milo was caused in part by a LaGuardia Airport air traffic controller who directed Milo, needing to make an emergency landing, to an air strip that no longer exists. Milo, 59, owner of Joe's American Grill, crashed his single-engine plane that morning on the Long Island Rail Road tracks on the border of Bethpage and Hicksville. A passenger, Carl Giordano of Mount Vernon, New Jersey, survived.

Milo was headed from Westhampton Beach to Morristown, N.J. when, federal investigators found, he told air traffic controller he was "having a little bit of a problem" and would have to "take it down." The LaGuardia controller told Milo the location of LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy, Republic, and Westchester County Airports. Milo responded that he would try to make it to Republic but was concerned he might not get that far. That's when, the report says, the controller radioed about the location of the "Bethpage strip," the site of Northrop Grumman plant that stopped making airplanes in 1992. The controller said the airport was closed, but that there would be a runway.

"The next several transmissions between the controller and pilot revealed that the pilot was unable to see the runway," the report says. "Radar and radio contact were eventually lost and emergency responders were notified of the accident."

Investigators found that industrial buildings stand on the site of the former runway. The plane crashed a quarter of a nautical mile from its former end.

An initial report said Giordano suffered a broken jaw during the crash, but is apparently recovered enough to speak with investigators. From the preliminary investigation findings: "He reported that the flight was in cruise when he heard a loud 'pop' sound, with a flicker of light from the engine area, followed by an 'oil smell.' The engine then began to 'sputter' and lose power. The pilot attempted to restart the engine without success."

Milo's wife told ABC7 that she thinks her husband tried his best to avoid hitting anyone when he crash-landed. She said further, "I've lost my soulmate, my everything, my best friend. I lost everything that day."

The Federal Aviation Administration declined to comment on the employment status of the air traffic controller and people responsible for the map used, or on any potential repercussions, saying that its investigation is ongoing.