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08 August 2009

Plane, Helicopter Collide Over Hudson River Near Hoboken; One Dead

A plane and helicopter have collided over the Hudson River near Hoboken, CNN is reporting. Another media outlet is reporting that at least one person has been pulled from the river by the United States Coast Guard. It is not immediately clear whether that person is alive.

The helicopter is believed to be a tour chopper. The plane is described as a small, twin-engine plane registered to a company in the Philadelphia area. The FAA says the plane likely took off from Teterboro Airport shortly before noon because a plane disappeared from its radar, according to reports.

Any eyewitness told CNN the plane and chopper were both traveling southbound over the Hudson. The plane then struck the chopper, its rotors broke off -- and both the plane and chopper plunged about 1,200 feet into the Hudson River, the eyewitness said.

A Circle Line tour boat, which was also heading southbound in the river, immediately turned around and headed toward the scene, the eyewitness told CNN.

The New York City Fire and Police departments, the Hoboken Fire and Police departments, the Hudson County Sheriff's Office, the United States Coast Guard and the Port Authority Police Department, as well as private ferry operators, are on scene conducting the rescue.

The plane and chopper were flying in what is known as the Hudson River VFR (Visual Flight Rules) Corridor. Aircraft in the VFR Corridor are not required to be in contact with any air traffic control until they approach either Newark Liberty or LaGuardia Airport airspace, but are supposed to (but are not required to) announce themselves on the frequency 123.05, according to Fox News. One aviation expert says pilots often don't announce their VFR locations.

More information as it becomes available.


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