9 feared dead in mid-air collision

Incident occurred when a chopper carrying tourists collided with a pvt plane in NY

The crash, which sent debris flying around and spread panic among people on the New Jersey waterfront, has raised questions about the safety standards of for-hire sightseeing flights, particularly after reports emerged that a federal watchdog earlier warned about lax oversight for such services.

The bodies of two adults and one child were recovered after the collision, which occurred at around Saturday noon over the Hudson between New York and Hoboken, New Jersey.
All nine people in both the aircraft are thought to have been killed in the collision, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “There was an accident which we do not believe was survivable,” he said.

Five Italian tourists visiting New York from Bologna are among those believed killed, CNN reported. The tourists, who apparently died with the chopper’s pilot, were part of a group of 12 visiting the US, it said citing law enforcement sources.
The helicopter, operated by Liberty Helicopter Sightseeing Tours, rammed into the single-engine Piper PA-32 Saratoga plane that took off from New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport, authorities said.

Media reports here identified the owner of the plane asSteven Altman, whose brother and nephew also were among the victims. The helicopter wreckage was found in about 30 feet of water, while the plane is believed to be near the midchannel point of the Hudson in deeper water.

Witnesses reported seeing debris flying from the helicopter as it crashed.
Witness Arnold Stevens said after the plane had a wing sheared off, it began “corkscrewing” into the water. The helicopter “dropped like a rock” after the collision.
Ben Berman, a former investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, said if the helicopter fell straight down, it’s likely there was a rotor failure.

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