Fifth Body Found in Hudson From Midair Crash - NBC New York

Fifth Body Found in Hudson From Midair Crash

Four people are still missing



    Fifth Body Found in Hudson From Midair Crash
    AP Photo/Seth Wenig
    Emergency personnel hand up pieces of debris that were found in the Hudson River as crews search for victims after Saturday's air collision.

    Police divers have located the body of a fifth victim in the midair collision between a tourist helicopter and private plane over the Hudson River yesterday. The body was found in the helicopter's fuselage.

    Crews are searching for four more victims.

    Nine people are presumed to have died when a private plane carrying three people and a sightseeing helicopter carrying five Italian tourists and one pilot crashed into each other in a dramatic, low-altitude accident over the Hudson on Saturday.

    New York City police boats pulled up this morning to buoys that surround the wreckage of the helicopter about 100 yards from the shore of Hoboken, N.J.

    A crane and police boats are preparing to remove the wreckage of the Eurocopter AS-350 helicopter, which had been operated by Liberty Tours.

    The accident "was not survivable," Mayor Bloomberg said.  The cause of the crash is still unclear.

    Debris was showered as far off as New Jersey as the aircrafts plummeted from the sky around noon near 14th Street. Both crafts disappeared in the river as rescue crews flooded to the scene.

    A spokesman for Liberty Tours has identified the helicopter pilot as Jeremy Clarke, 33, of New Zealand.  Media reports in New Zealand say Clarke's parents have departed for New York from Auckland.

    Three bodies were recovered in the water yesterday, one floating free and the others in the wreckage.  Two of the victims were male,  while the third was a youth -- all believed to have been on the plane.

    Aviation authorities identified the pilot and owner of the plane as Steven M. Altman, of Ambler, Pa., and said he carried two passengers; a law enforcement official said one was Mr. Altman’s brother Daniel Altman and Daniel's teenage son Doug. 

    The Italian victims have been named as Tiziana Pedroneh, Fabio Gallazzi, Giacomo Gallazzi, Michele Norelli and Filippo Norelli.

    National Transportation Safety Board chairman, Debbie Hersman, said the Liberty Tours helicopter had been located and marked off as rescue crews continue to scour the surrounding area.  Yellow police tape marks off a park on the Manhattan's Westside where hundreds of people watched the horrific scene unfold.

    On a crystal-clear, sun-drenched Saturday, there were countless witnesses to crash — joggers, bikers, sunbathers, brunchers and those lounging in high-rise apartments along the Hudson.

    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. Officials considered new restrictions for the aircraft after a 2006 small-plane crash killed New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor.

    Witnesses to the incident describing a terrifying scene. Jasmine Pan was playing golf at Chelsea Piers when the collision happened. 

    "I heard what sounded like an explosion and [saw] the helicopter just falling from the sky," she said. "It was like out of a movie."

    Katie Tanski, of Hoboken, who ran for cover after hearing the collision and seeing parts of the wreckage fly towards land.

    “We saw the helicopter propellers fly all over,” she said.

    FAA spokesman Jim Peters confirmed the plane took off from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey in a "southerly direction." Newark Terminal Radar Approach Control reported losing radar contact with the aircraft, initially believing it went into the Hudson, Peters said. The plane was en route to Ocean City, N.J.  The helicopter took off from the West 30th Street heliport. 

    Peters wasn't sure what, if any, radio contact there may have been with the chopper. He noted that current rules allow helicopters to fly without contact if sightseeing over the Hudson and below 1,100 feet.