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DEATH CRASH IN THE SKY.

Byline: PAUL BYRNE

By PAUL BYRNE A HELICOPTER and a small plane collided in a horrific mid-air crash over New York, killing nine people including four teenage boys.

The impact tore off the chopper's rotor blades and sheared a wing from the Piper PA-32.

Both aircraft then plunged into the Hudson River below, watched by hundreds of helpless onlookers.

Debris littered the water as rescue craft and divers plucked three bodies from the depths hours after Saturday's collision.

Four more corpses was found yesterday. But the search for the remaining two victims went on as city mayor Michael Bloomberg said the crash was "unsurvivable".

An operator at Liberty Tours, which ran the sightseeing chopper, had tried to raise the alarm after seeing the plane approaching. The National Transportation Safety Board said: "He radioed, 'You have a fixed-wing behind you'. But there was no response from the pilot (33-year-old New York-based New Zealander Jeremy Clark)."

Then the plane's right wing struck the helicopter which was carrying five Italian tourists from Bologna, including two lads of 15 and one aged 16. Both aircraft plunged into the river close to where a US Airways jet carrying 155 passengers crash-landed safely seven months ago.

Aboard the Piper were the pilot, 60, his brother, 49, and his son, aged 16, all from Pennsylvania.

Two years ago, a Liberty helicopter fell 500ft during a similar sightseeing trip in the alwaysbusy aviation corridor featuring stunning views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Manhattan.

CAPTION(S):

PLUNGE The two aircraft dropping into the Hudson IMPACT The wing of the plane breaks off amid the smoke
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 10, 2009
Words:269
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