Wreckage, bodies from NY air collision found

NEW YORK – Plane wreckage and the bodies of the two missing victims of a midair collision over New York’s Hudson River were recovered from the murky waters on Tuesday, three days after the crash that killed nine people.

Five Italian tourists in a helicopter, two passengers in a small plane and the two pilots died on Saturday when their aircraft collided and plunged into the river that separates New York and New Jersey. There were no survivors.

“We have recovered both of the final bodies in this terrible accident. With the recovery of these two, all nine people are accounted for,” said New York police spokesman Paul Browne.

The plane had just taken off from nearby Teterboro, New Jersey, airport at midday on Saturday when it collided with the helicopter, which had just lifted off on a scheduled 12-minute sightseeing flight.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the accident, which has prompted calls for more regulation of air traffic above New York’s waterways. These air corridors are major routes for small aircraft.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said the plane, a Piper Saratoga, appeared to hit the back of the helicopter, a Eurocopter AS350 operated by Liberty Helicopter, the largest sightseeing helicopter operator in the northeastern United States.

Photos taken by witnesses showed one of the plane’s wings came off in the collision, as did the helicopter’s rotors.