Widow Sues Chopper Owner, Maker Over Mid-Air Hudson Crash

Collision killed nine, including five tourists

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Shocking home video taken by a Italian tourist shows the dramatic moments before the crash in the skies over the Hudson River. (Published Friday, Apr 2, 2010)

    The widow of the small-plane pilot killed in a mid-air collision with a helicopter over the Hudson River has filed suit over the deadly crash.

         The Aug. 8 crash killed nine people aboard the two aircraft, including pilot Steven Altman of Ambler.
        
    Pamela Altman is suing tour company Liberty Helicopters, helicopter owner Meridian Consulting I and manufacturer American Eurocopter.
        
    Her suit alleges Liberty and Meridian had a "horrid history of accidents'' and American Eurocopter failed to equip the helicopter with sufficient safety equipment.

    In 1998, a Liberty Tours helicopter crashed into a terminal building at the West 30th Street heliport, injuring three people. A year earlier, a Liberty Tours chopper crashed into the side of a one-story building at the heliport. In 1995, a pilot for Liberty Tours toldd the National Transportation Safety Board that he was forced to fly after asking to be "relieved from the mission," according to The New York Post. The pilot then neglected to untie the rotor blades, causing the chopper to crash shortly after he attempted to take off.
        
    In addition to Altman's husband, the August crash also killed Steven Altman's brother, Daniel, and nephew, Douglas, along with the helicopter pilot and five Italian tourists.
        
    The federal lawsuit was filed this week in Philadelphia and also names several insurance companies.

    Home video, shot by a tourist aboard a boat on the Hudson and obtained exclusively by NBC News, captures the moments before and the stunning impact when small plane collided with a sightseeing helicopter shortly after noon that fateful day.

    The air accident, the deadliest in the New York City area since the 2001 crash of a commercial jet in Queens killed 265 people, also raised questions about the heavily trafficked river corridors for small planes on both sides of Manhattan.

    The Federal Aviation Administration imposed tighter visual flight regulations over the Hudson River corridor in the aftermath of the crash.