Two men were killed and two people critically hurt yesterday when their private plane - aloft to look for whales in the Atlantic Ocean - crashed into woods in Ocean County, N.J., authorities said.

Two victims, one apparently from South Jersey, were pronounced dead at the crash site in Eagleswood Township. The survivors, a man and a woman, were flown by helicopter to Atlantic City Medical Center-City Division, where they were in critical condition last night. No names were immediately released.

The Cessna Skymaster took off from Millville, N.J., and went down about 3:30 p.m. about 100 yards from Eagles Nest Airport in Eagleswood, ending up upside down.

The multiengine prop plane was owned by John Ambroult of Ambroult Aviation in Chatham, Mass., according to FAA records.

- Craig R. McCoy