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Nine feared dead in collision of two aircraft near New York City

Video by Yuka ROYER

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-10

A tour helicopter with Italian tourists aboard collided Saturday in midair with a small plane and crashed into the Hudson River, leaving nine people likely dead, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (pictured) has said.

REUTERS - A tour helicopter with Italian tourists aboard collided in midair with a small plane on Saturday and crashed into the Hudson River, leaving nine people likely dead, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.


He said there were five Italian tourist aboard the helicopter and three people aboard the plane including the pilot and a child. Two bodies had been recovered but there was no hope of finding survivors.


“This has changed from a rescue to a recovery mission,” Bloomberg said. “There’s not going to be a happy ending.”


Search and rescue craft rushed to the area and police divers started looking for survivors and wreckage. The weather around the time of the accident in the vicinity of West 14th Street at noon (1600 GMT) was reported clear and mild.


Bloomberg said police had found one piece of wreckage in murky waters and the search would probably continue for a few days.


The helicopter was operated by Liberty Helicopter, the largest sightseeing and charter helicopter operator in the U.S. Northeast. The plane was a Piper PA-32.


An eyewitness told the NY1 local TV station he saw a wing come off the plane around the time of the collision. The helicopter immediately “fell like a stone” into the river, the witness said. Others reported hearing a loud boom.


In January, a US Airways jet with more than 150 people on board crashed into the frigid Hudson River off Manhattan after apparently hitting a flock of geese. All aboard survived.
 

Date created : 2009-08-08

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