A plane crash kills all 9 people aboard over Hudson River on Saturday, August 8 when a small plane collided with a sightseeing helicopter from the ‘Liberty Helicopter Tours’ carrying Italian tourists.
Another helicopter pilot on the ground at the heliport for Liberty Tours, which operated the doomed sightseeing craft, saw the plane approaching the helicopter and tried to radio an alert to the pilots, police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. The warning wasn’t heard or didn’t happen in time.
The collision, which Mayor Michael Bloomberg said was “not survivable,” happened just after noon and was seen by thousands of people enjoying a crystal-clear summer day from the New York and New Jersey sides of the river.
“First I saw a piece of something flying through the air. Then I saw the helicopter going down into the water,” said Kelly Owen, a Florida tourist at a Manhattan park. “I thought it was my imagination.”
The two aircraft went down just south of the stretch of river where a US Airways jet landed safely seven months ago. But this time, there was no miracle.
“This is not going to have a happy ending,” Bloomberg said. Hours after the collision, he said he thought it fair to say “this has changed from a rescue to a recovery mission.”
The National Transportation Safety Board was investigating the cause of the collision.
Two bodies were recovered in the water, one floating free and one in the wreckage, and other bodies were spotted in the debris in the river, the mayor said. The crash victims included five Italian tourists and a pilot on the helicopter and the three people on the plane, including a child, Bloomberg said.
Witnesses described seeing a low-flying plane smashing into the helicopter, and then wreckage scattering. One of the plane’s wings was severed by the impact.
Buzz Nahas was walking along the Hoboken, N.J., waterfront when he heard the impact, then looked up to see the plane without one of its wings “fluttering” into the water.
“There was a loud pop, almost like a car backfire,” he said. “The helicopter dropped like a rock.”
The plane, headed for Ocean City, N.J., left New Jersey at 11:54 a.m., the said in a statement. It had landed at the airport 25 minutes earlier with the pilot aboard to pick up two passengers.in
The plane had started its journey in Pennsylvania, an official familiar with the plane’stold The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.