CAPE MAY POINT — The body of a 58-year-old Monmouth County pilot and the plane he was flying were recovered Friday evening after they crashed into the ocean Wednesday.

After an extensive search, the plane and the body of Lawrence Klimek, of Howell Township, were located by divers and brought into Cape May Harbor, said Captain Jack Moran, owner of Sea Tow Cape May, the salvage company that worked with Northstar Marine in the recovery effort.

Klimek’s body was still strapped into his seat in the cockpit of the single-engine plane, Moran said.

State Police, who are leading the investigation into the crash, did not respond to a request for comment.

Three divers and a dozen other crew members used sonar to find the plane on the ocean floor, Moran said. The diving conditions were difficult, with zero visibility, he added, but they got the plane on board a 90-foot boat about 7 p.m.

“It was completely, in several different places, held together by rigging and wiring running through the plane, but it was structurally destroyed,” Moran said.

The crash did no damage to the environment, Moran said, leaving behind no gas or oil pollution and no damage to the ocean floor.

Klimek took off in the single-engine Mooney M20J from Trenton-Robbinsville Airport about 8 a.m. Wednesday, and reports came in of a plane in the water about 11:30 a.m.

Klimek was the only person on the plane.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

According to records from the FAA, Klimek was issued his commercial pilot’s license in January 2016.

Contact: 609-272-7241 Twitter @ACPressMollyB

Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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