Plane In Hudson Crash Raised From River, 2 Bodies Recovered (VIDEO)

09/11/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Huffington Post/AP

(AP) HOBOKEN, N.J. -- Two bodies were pulled Tuesday from the wreckage of a small plane that collided with a sightseeing helicopter over the Hudson River, meaning all nine crash victims have been recovered, police said.

Medical examiners will determine whether the bodies are those of the plane's pilot and a passenger, chief police spokesman Paul Browne said. Saturday's crash killed three Pennsylvania residents on the plane and five Italian tourists and a pilot on the helicopter.

The last two bodies were found as recovery workers salvaged their first piece of the heavily damaged plane from the murky, fast-moving Hudson. The aircraft was found Monday in about 60 feet of water.

Divers contended with tricky currents, low visibility and the need to lift the wreckage carefully so potential clues weren't disturbed. One of the plane's wings, separated in the crash, was still missing, police said.

The Piper airplane collided with the helicopter in the congested airspace between New Jersey and Manhattan.

Investigators will check to see whether all the plane's controls were working and whether there was power from the engine when the aircraft collided, said National Transportation Safety Board chief Deborah Hersman.

Investigators also planned to conduct interviews with controllers at Newark (N.J.) Liberty International Airport to try to piece together the plane's flight route into the Hudson River corridor, where it smashed into the helicopter at 1,100 feet.

Air traffic control transcripts described Monday indicate a worry-free exchange between controllers at Teterboro (N.J.) Airport and the plane's pilot, Steven Altman. He was told he could pick his flight path toward Ocean City, N.J., where he was flying with his brother Daniel Altman and teenage nephew Douglas Altman.

The seven victims whose bodies had been recovered earlier were positively identified through dental records and fingerprints, the New York medical examiner's office said. Autopsies found they died from blunt-impact injuries.

The helicopter had just taken off from Manhattan's West Side for a 12-minute tour. Witnesses said the plane approached the helicopter from behind and clipped it with a wing.

Both aircraft split and fell into the river.


Video of the wreckage being removed: