Helicopter hits small plane near New York

NEW YORK – A tour helicopter collided with a small plane in midair and both crashed into the Hudson River near lower Manhattan, police reported Saturday.

The U.S. Coast Guard earlier reported that one person had been rescued but later said that was not the case. It added that the New York Fire Department had recovered one body from the water.

It was not clear how many people were aboard the two aircraft and the fate of the others was still unknown.

Search and rescue craft rushed to the area and police divers were looking for survivors. The weather around the time of the accident in the vicinity of West 14th Street at noon

was reported clear and mild.

The helicopter had the capacity to carry up to eight people including the pilot. The aircraft, reported by some media to be a Piper PA-32, can carry up to seven depending on its configuration.

The helicopter was operated by Liberty Helicopter, local media said. The company says on its website it is the largest sightseeing and charter helicopter operator in the U.S. Northeast.

An eyewitness told the NY1 local TV station he saw a wing come off the plane around the time of the collision. The helicopter immediately “fell like a stone” into the river, the witness said. Others reported hearing a loud boom.

In January, a US Airways jet with more than 150 people on board crashed into the frigid Hudson River off Manhattan after apparently hitting a flock of geese. All aboard survived.

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