Jokes about barbecuing a cat gave way to somber disbelief over the crash of a small plane and a sightseeing helicopter over the Hudson River in August, according to conversations the FAA released Thursday.
The accident killed nine people.
Listen to the audio
The transcripts show that a Teterboro airport controller had been cracking about grilling a cat minutes before telling the pilot of the doomed aircraft that he was approaching Newark Airport's airspace and was out of his control.
The FAA has suspended the controller and called his talk inappropriate but said it did not play a role in the August 8 crash that killed all nine people aboard the two aircraft that collided over the Hudson River.
The transcripts of the conversations had been leaked in August but today's FAA release is the first time the actual conversations can be heard.
"We got plenty of gas in the grill," joked the controller to a female friend. "Fire up the cat."
"Ooh, disgusting, that thing was disgusting," said the woman, referring to a dead cat she had found.
But minutes later the tone turned grave when the controllers realized the Piper aircraft they had briefly guided toward the Hudson had collided into a helicopter filled with Italian tourists.
"Oh my Lord" says a woman at Teterboro.