This is an eyewitness report from the NowPublic member Pythiian1 who was on the scene.
Plane, Helicopter Collided Over the Hudson River, NYC: 9 Victims
Latest updates below initial report:
I am watching the ongoing rescue of two aircraft, one tour helicopter and a small plane collide over the Hudson River. There weren't any explosion, but seeing the helicopter nosedived in first, followed by the plane was a stunning sight as I was walking along the Hudson.
According to NY1, the FAA said the small plane was Piper Aircraft PA32 wing. It had departed from Teterboro Airport, New Jersey. The Piper was heading south when it collided with the Liberty Tours Eurocopter AS 350 carrying tourists. The Piper plane was en route to Ocean City, New Jersey. The helicopter does not have any pontoon on board as in other tour helicopters.
Both aircraft are still underwater as NYPD divers have gone into the water to search for the victims. Numerous official and civilian boats along with the Coast Guard can be seen from where I am located along the Hudson River.
The crash occurs between Hoboken and New York City sometime after 12 PM EST.
Sadly, only one body has been recovered according to the FDNY report.
According to the NYPD, there were six people in the helicopter, which took off from West 30th Street heliport. According to some officials on the Manhattan side, the pilot, one adult, and a young person were in the plane as it was trying to climb above the helicopter.
The airspace over the Hudson River is always busy, but it is not a controlled airspace.
The Hudson River is officially closed right below Chelsea Piers, off West 22nd Street. Helicopters are still hovering over the crash site. There is a 3-mile air cordon from the crash site as well.
The Circle Line cruise can be seen speeding southward, to the extent that it can, toward the crash site to offer assistance. Water taxis also rushed toward the same area of water.
It is remarkable how fast the on-land responders on the New York side and seeing the boats in the Hudson River rushing to the crash site off Hoboken, New Jersey. I am in awe by the speed of the responders racing toward the scene, both on land along the New York side, and in the Hudson River.
I understand that New York Mayor Bloomberg and other officials will hold a press conference.
I'm heading back out to gather additional information and will update upon my return.
UPDATES: Aug. 8
According to the NYPD. FDNY, and the Port Authority responders, there were six people, which included five Italian tourists and one helicopter pilot. There were nine persons involved in the crash. There is no survivor at this time.
Two more bodies have been recovered since the last report of one fatality when the story first broke.
The Hudson River is quite deep with strong currents, which slowed the divers' rescuing operation that turned into a recovering process by the time I left the area. It is believed the depth of the water around the crash site is approximately thirty feet deep. The official boats are also trying to recover the planes' debris as the divers continue to recover the bodies.
I have just returned from West 14th Street in Manhattan, which is almost parallel to the crash site. Pieces of both aircraft landed within this area, which had been cordoned by the NYPD.
Regretfully, this story has turned into a sad ending on a rare sunny Saturday in New York City and New Jersey.
UPDATES: Aug. 9
The list of the victims' names is as followed:
The Piper's pilot was Steven Altman, 60 years old, and the two passengers were his brother, Daniel, 46, and nephew, Douglas, 16. The family members came from Pennsylvania.
The Italian tourists were originally from Bologna, Italy: Tiziana Perdrone, Fabio Gallazzi, Giacomo Gallazzi, Michele Norelli, and Filippo Norelli. The pilot was Jeremy Clark, 32 years old, who came from New Zealand, but resided in New Jersey.
According to various local New York news reports, four more victims' bodies have been recovered since the divers went into the water earlier today, Sunday. Divers continue to work to recover the remaining two victims' bodies.
The search was halted by early eveing due rough water and impending bad weather in the tri-state region.
The NTSB officials have been investigating this mid-air collision since their arrival late Saturday. They have been releasing some findings as snapshots rather than a full report, which will be released when the NTSB officials completed their investigation.
UPDATES: Aug. 10
The NYPD spokesperson has revealed that the eighth victim, a male, is found lodged inside the Piper body. Different parts of the small plane were raised from the depth as deep as 30 feet below surface around 3:30PM EST. Apparently, both wings of the Piper had been sheared off.
According to the spokesperson, visibility in the water is much better today than in the previous two days, nevertheless, the divers and recovering crew still rely on sonar to locate different parts of both aircraft. Mercifully, the NYC weather is dry instead of rain. Thunderstorm is expected this evening.
The investigators and other officials are also reviewing all of the 911 calls about the mid-air collision on Saturday. It is hoped that the author won't become part of this story.
The recovering efforts will resume early tomorrow morning even though divers have located the remainder of the helicopter about 60 feet below surface, early this evening.
UPDATES: Aug. 11
The ninth victim was recovered from the Hudson River along with debris from the aircraft on Tuesday afternoon.
In the wake of this tragedy, New York political officials are demanding for better control of the busy airspace over the Hudson River to prevent this kind of tragic mid-air collision from recurrence.
at 09:05 on August 8th, 2009
Most Recommended Comment
New York, New York, United States