Small Aircraft Hits Building in Manhattan
By MARIA NEWMAN and JOE DRAPE
NEW YORK TIMES
October 11, 2006
An aircraft crashed into a residential high-rise building on New York City’s Upper East Side this afternoon, igniting several apartments before pieces of the aircraft crashed to the ground, the police and witnesses said.
Police officials said two bodies were found on the ground, possibly passengers or crewmembers from the aircraft, but the authorities are just beginning their investigations. There are no reports of any injuries yet.
A Fire Department spokeswoman, Emily Rahimi, told The Associated Press that the aircraft struck the 20th floor of the building, 524 E. 72nd St., near York Avenue. However, television reports and witnessed said the aircraft hit closer to the 40th floor. That building and one next door were evacuated, police said.
The authorities have not said whether the aircraft was a small airplane or a helicopter.
Television views of the fire showed flames shooting out of four windows and smoke that streamed up into the sky, visible for miles. The building is a 50-story condominium that was built in 1986, The A.P. said, and has 183 apartments. Many of the lower floors held offices for doctors and other professionals.
The crash interrupted the routine of an urban afternoon that consisted of construction work inside the building, doctor’s appointments and came at the end of the school day for nearby students.
Kim Quarterman, 50, a doorman at 411 E. 70th St., said he head a noise about 2:45 p.m. "It sounded like a truck gearing down," he said. "You know how a truck sounds when it’s trying not to hit something? Then I saw a cloud of smoke."
After that, he picked his daughter, Chablis Quarterman, 13, at a nearby school.
"My dad and I tried to get as close as we could, but by then, all you could see was smoke," she said.
Samuel Klotman, 17, was on the roof of his school nearby with classmates when they saw the plane coming down.
“I could see through the buildings what I thought was a plane headed to this building,” he said. “Then there was a booming noise and a great fire gust shooting out.”
He said he and his classmates started text messaging and calling everyone they knew, “wondering what was happening,” and the school let everybody go home.
Reporting was contributed by Al Baker, William K. Rashbaum, Matthew Sweeney and Matthew Wald.
Yankees pitcher's plane crashes into Manhattan high-rise
POSTED: 5:23 p.m. EDT, October 11, 2006
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle was the sole person aboard the plane that crashed Wednesday into a high-rise apartment building in New York, FBI officials told CNN.
Emergency responders found his passport in the street below, the officials said.
The small airplane was a Cirrus SR-20 registered to Lidle, 34, said Yankees manager Joe Torre.(Watch witness accounts of cascading fireballs and a plane split in half -- 1:58 Video)
There was a mayday, FAA reports, from the pilot involving a problem with fuel before the aircraft crashed into the 50-story high-rise on Manhattan's East Side.
One other person was reportedly killed, according to the New York City Fire Department and New York City Police Department.
Flames shot out from several windows midway up the luxury high-rise in a residential neighborhood. Paramedics and rescue workers are treating people on the ground.
The Federal Aviation Administration described the plane as a "general aviation" fixed-wing aircraft flying under visual flight rules, meaning a pilot was flying by visual landmarks. (Watch the orange flames ravage the apartment -- 1:50)
The plane hit the Belaire Condominiums at 524 E. 72nd Street near the East River. More than 150 firefighters are on scene of a four-alarm fire in the building.
Immediately after the crash NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) said it had put fighter aircraft into the air over numerous U.S. cities, though they said they had no reason to believe the event in New York was anything more than an accident, sources told CNN's Barbara Starr. NORAD did the same thing after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
NORAD Admiral Timothy Keating told CNN within an hour after the crash that the agency believed terrorism was not involved.
Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs New York area airports said he had "no idea where [the plane] came from."
"We haven't heard from any of our facilities that anything's missing," said Coleman.
New York City government source told CNN there are "no indications of terrorism."
The FAA placed a one-mile flight restriction around the site of the crash, but New York area airports were not affected.
A senior U.S. official in Washington said the administration was waiting for more information.
Witness Henry Neimark, who is also a pilot, said he saw a plane flying at relatively low altitude which seemed to come from LaGuardia International Airport.
"It looked to me in retrospect that this was a pilot desperately trying to get back to the airport and land safely on a runway," he said.
"The fire was raging out of two windows," witness Sarah Steiner told CNN. "It looks like the plane just flew into someone's living room."
Steiner said fires were burning on the ground. "It looks like the plane just flew into someone's living room there."
"It looks as if the aircraft didn't go into the building but fell down," she said. "It may be part of the debris burning on the ground."
Video from the scene shows at least three apartments in the high-rise engulfed in flames.
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