08 August 2009
8 August 2009; Eurocopter and Piper Saratoga, Hudson River, near New York City: A single-engine aircraft and a sightseeing helicopter collided at about noon over the Hudson River near Manhattan. Three people were aboard the single-engine Piper PA-32R-300 (N71MC), and the flight plan indicated the aircraft was heading from Teterboro Airport in Teaneck, New Jersey to Ocean City, New Jersey. The Saratoga took off from Teterboro shortly before noon local time.
On board were a pilot and two passengers, including one teenager. The Liberty Harbor Sightseeing Tours helicopter, a Eurocopter AS350 (N401LH), took off from Pier 30 in Manhattan, near West 30th Street, and reportedly had one pilot and five Italian tourists on board. Two of those tourists were also teenagers.
According to eyewitnesses, the collision occurred over the Hudson, in the area between the Lincoln and Holland tunnels. The right wing was sheared off the Cherokee, and it corkscrewed into the Hudson. The helicopter was also seen falling into the Hudson, shedding debris, including helicopter blades on the way down. Some of the debris landed in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Both aircraft sank immediately after hitting the water near the New Jersey side of the Hudson near Hoboken. This is an area east of where West 14th Street in Manhattan meets the Hudson.
One body was found floating in the river, and several others were found in a piece of wreckage. No survivors have been found from either aircraft. The National Transportation Safety Board has dispatched a Go Team to investigate the midair collision.
Fatal Midair Events Involving Airliners
Fatal Eurocopter AS350 Events
Fatal Piper Saratoga Events (PA-32R-300)