Authorities identified two people yesterday who died in a small plane crash Saturday in a wooded area of Ocean County, N.J. Two passengers who were conducting wildlife research remained hospitalized.

One of the injured passengers aboard the twin-engine Cessna 337A was able to direct rescuers to the accident site by calling 911 and letting police know when rescue helicopters were close, according to the New Jersey State Police.

The pilot and owner of the plane, John Ambroult, 60, of Eastham, Mass., and passenger Stephen Claussen, 41, of Seattle, were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, police said.

Two other victims, Juan Carlos Salinas, 43, of Mexico City, and Jacalyn Brown, 28, of Pemberton, Burlington County, were airlifted to Atlantic City Medical Center. Yesterday, Salinas was listed in fair condition and Brown in critical condition, according to the hospital staff.

The accident is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and the New Jersey Division of Aeronautics, said Sgt. Stephen Jones of the New Jersey State Police.

Salinas called 911 from his cell phone after the plane went down just after 3 p.m. in woods about 100 yards south of the Eagle's Nest airport in Eagleswood Township. The flight originated in Millville.

"With him assisting the troopers by telling how close they [helicopters] seemed to be, they were able to get there in a relatively short period of time," Jones said.

The three passengers, who worked for Geo-Marine Inc. of Plano, Texas, were on a research mission. The company specializes in surveys of whales, dolphins, birds, and other natural life and had just opened an office in Millville.

The company Web site says it is involved in projects related to wind-farm development and is performing ecological studies for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Contact staff writer Mari A. Schaefer at 610-892-9149 or mschaefer@phillynews.com.