New York Major Michael Bloomberg declared helicopter sightseeing crash a recovery mission

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New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the operation of searching for those aboard a small plane and helicopter that collided Saturday over the Hudson River has become a recovery mission.

He said two bodies had been recovered, but it was unclear whether the second one was from the crash, which authorities “do not feel was survivable.”

Two passengers, including a child, and a pilot were believed to have been aboard the single-engine Piper PA-32 when it collided with the copter around noon between New York and Hoboken, New Jersey, Bloomberg said.

Earlier, the Coast Guard reported it had rescued one person from the river.

Five Italian tourists and a pilot were believed to be aboard the helicopter, which was operated by Liberty Helicopter Sightseeing Tours, Bloomberg said.
The travelers filled out a flight plan indicating they were flying from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to Ocean City, New Jersey, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Five Italian tourists and a pilot were believed to be aboard the helicopter, which was operated by Liberty Helicopter Sightseeing Tours, Bloomberg said.

No immediate information was available on the person rescued by the New York City Fire Department. People at the scene said nothing could be seen floating on the water.

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, which happened about noon.

rlene Salac, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the tour company had confirmed the helicopter was one of its own.

Ron Marsico, spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said a small plane landed at Teterboro to pick up one passenger late Saturday morning. The plane took off at 11:54 a.m., he said.

Ben Berman, formerly with the National Transportation Safety Board, which will investigate the accident, said if the helicopter fell straight down, it’s likely there was a rotor failure.
Witnesses reported seeing debris flying from the helicopter as it crashed.

Scott Schuman was with his grandparents on the Hoboken side of the river when they heard a loud bang.

“The plane was kind of whirlybirding its way down, brown smoke coming out the back of it, and it crashed into the water. Then a few seconds later the helicopter with debris falling off of it also hit as well,” Schuman told CNN.

“It was a scary sight,” he added.

e said some of the debris fell in Hoboken, and “we covered our heads.”

Asked if he had seen anyone in the water, Schuman replied, “I have not seen anything, but judging by the impact when the plane and the helicopter hit, it would be very unlikely for a positive outcome.”