Small plane and helicopter collide over Hudson River in New York City

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Piper-PA-32-300, similar to the one that crashed.
Image: Adrian Pingstone.

A small plane and a tourist helicopter have collided in mid-air over the Hudson River above Hoboken, New Jersey. At least six people were on the helicopter, and three people were on the plane. The collision occurred near Pier 40 in New York City at 11:53 a.m. (EDT), just before both crafts crashed into the water.

A Eurocopter AS350, similar to the one that crashed.
Image: Fabien1309.

Earlier, authorities had reported that at least one survivor had been rescued from the river. Reports now say that all passengers on the plane and helicopter have been killed.

"This is not going to have a happy ending. This has changed from a rescue to a recovery mission," said the Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg. He added that the crash was "not survivable."

The helicopter was a Eurocopter AS 350 and was owned by Liberty Tours. It was carrying five tourists from Italy and one pilot.

LCA Partnerships operated the plane which was carrying three people, including a child. Reports say it took off from New Jersey's Teterboro Airport after traveling from Pennsylvania. The plane was a Piper PA-32 single engine, fixed wing aircraft with the tail number of N71MC.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, but witnesses on the ground say the plane struck the helicopter from behind. The Associated Press says that a helicopter pilot on the ground, saw the plane on a collision course with the helicopter and tried to radio the two aircraft in an attempt to warn them.

The collision occurs just seven months after a US Airways, Airbus A320 carrying 155 people, crashed into the Hudson following a bird strike. All people on board the plane survived.