A single-engine plane crashed into an Upper East Side high-rise Wednesday, killing two people, raining debris on the sidewalks below and rattling New Yorkers' nerves exactly one month after the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.
The four deaths were confirmed by the city medical examiner's office. There was no word yet on injuries linked to the crash on an overcast October afternoon, which sent thick black smoke soaring above the city skyline and flames shooting out of apartments above the upscale neighborhood.
Part of building went up in flames after crash (Photo: AP)
The New York police department told Reuters that the airplane that crashed into a Manhattan high-rise on Wednesday was owned by Yankees baseball pitcher Cory Lidle.
A spokesman for the Yankees declined to confirm the reports. A second representative for the famed baseball team said they were investigating the reports.
The FAA confirmed the plane was owned by Lidle, 34. CNN said the pilot was indeed Lidle and he is believed to have died.
Several helicopters have crashed over the years into or near the rivers flanking Manhattan.
‘We thought it was 9/11 all over again’
Patricia Williamson, who works in the hospital opposite the site of the crash, told Ynet, “Right around 3:00 p.m. we heard a massive explosion. At first we thought it was scaffolding falling from the construction site across the way, but my friend who works in the emergency room said a plane crashed into the building across the street.
"Immediately I thought it was September 11th all over again. We quickly went down to the street and saw people running in all directions, crying and screaming. The concern was that another plane might hit the building, which was just a few feet from the hospital.”
David, one the emergency medics who arrived on the scene said that since the 9/11 terror attack, “There are regular procedures for handling these types of cases. Until we knew for sure that it was an accident, we operated according to emergency procedures with the focus being on reaching the wounded and evacuating the upper stories in the neighboring buildings, in case there was another hit. Massive forces reached that scene and managed to calm down the residents and refute the concerns that it was a terror attack.”
David Saranga, the Consul for Media and Public Affairs at the Consulate General of Israel in New York, told Ynet that many Israelis reside in the immediate area of the crash, and the consulate was checking whether any Israelis were hurt in the incident.
Ofer Gutman from tje World Zionist Organization in New York told Ynet that thick smoke billowed from the building. With that, he noted that it seems the internal structure of the building was not damaged and it was not in danger of collapsing. He added that many people were scene fleeing the area in panic.
Yitzhak Behorin, Meital Tzur, Hagai Einav and news agencies contributed to the report