Saturday, August 8, 2009

Helicopter and plane in NY crash

A tour helicopter and a light aircraft have collided near New York City and crashed into the Hudson River, the US Coast Guard says.

The collision occurred between Hoboken, in New Jersey, and Manhattan, just across the river.

Divers are searching for survivors. Reports suggest one person has been found; their condition is unknown.

Television footage showed rescue craft heading to the site from both sides of the Hudson River.

"It hit the water like a stone," a woman told local television station NY1.

"I saw a piece of metal, I saw a helicopter, the helicopter went down, and that was it. I heard no noise, and no smoke or fire."

Other witnesses described seeing debris - including the plane's wing - falling into the water.

"We saw the helicopter propellers fly all over," said Hoboken resident Katie Tanski.

The helicopter was operated by Liberty Helicopters, a sightseeing company that flies tourists around sites such as the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Six people were believed to be on board, US media reports said.

The light plane took off from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, aviation officials said. It is not known how many people were on the plane.

The weather at the time of the collision, noon local time (1600 GMT), was said to be clear and mild.

In January, a passenger plane with 155 people aboard ditched into the Hudson River without loss of life, after apparently hitting a flock of geese.