Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Aircraft Strikes New York City Skyscraper

When checking my e-mail, I saw a headline saying an aircraft had hit an NYC building. Thanks to the Internet, I'm able to watch live NBC New York news, with Chuck Scarborough anchoring. There is a ton of confusion, with the FAA saying it was a plane, and eyewitnesses saying it was a helicopter. The building is up on the Upper East Side, and it seems pretty unclear at this point whether it was an intentional hit on the building, or an accident.

Two bodies have been found on the ground.

Besides the obvious, this feels like 9/11 to me with all the conflicting reports and uncertainty. I imagine this is an extremely scary time for Manhattan residents.

NBC Story:
CNN Story:
Live NBC video :

UPDATE: 3:47 PM - The FDNY is saying the aircraft did not significantly penetrate the building, despite the frightening-looking video, and most of the aircraft fell onto the street. The fire was put out very quickly. The incident happened at about 2:50 PM, and it appears at this point the only casualties may have been to the passengers or pilots of the aircraft.

UPDATE: 3:56 - One report says that the aircraft made a sharp right turn right before the impact, leading to speculation that it was an intentional act. Scarborough wonders out loud if it was a 9/11 copycat. Another eyewitness says she saw the impact and it looked like a helicopter trying to avoid the building, having mechanical trouble. By the way, I am writing these updates not because I think my blog is a news source for anyone, but rather just to document it for reference later. My immediate thought was of course of family I have up in New York. My sister- and brother-in law live on the Upper WEST Side, and I can't think of anyone I know who live up near this building (524 East 72nd Street) right now.

UPDATE: 4:02 - I haven't heard anyone else say this, but I just realized today is October 11th - not quite an Anniversary of 9/11/01, but enough to make a person wonder. All official agencies are calling it a "fixed-wing" aircraft (i.e. airplane), contrary to eyewitnesses reports of a helicopter. Plenty of fodder for the conspiracy theorists out there, but the developing story is that it was indeed a plane due for White Plains airport - a story that seems to have been corroborated by ID on the luggage found on the ground.

UPDATE: 4:11 PM - Thinking about the odd date, I thought about Flight 587 that crashed in Queens in the months after 9/11. That crash actually happened on November 12, 2001. At the time, many people felt it was too coincidental for it to have been a mechanical failure. I'm hearing that today's incident involved a craft Cirrus, single engine 4 passenger plane, that has a parachute system in place, in case of mechanical failure. Scarborough says that the Cirrus plane could resemble a helicopter if the wings had somehow fallen off.

UPDATE 4:16 PM I just now heard that 4 people are dead from the crash - two of them inside the building.

UPDATE: 4:38 PM WNBC just had someone on who says the owner of the plane may have been Cory Lidle, a pitcher for the Yankees. They found a purchase agreement for the plane with Cory Lidle's name on it, and WNBC's news anchor Len Berman says he found a separate news report where Cory Lidle was a new pilot who had purchased a plane with the same description. In the just-finished ALDS, Cory Lidle allowed 3 runs on 4 hits in 1.3 innings.

UPDATE: 4:49 PM - The AP says that a law enforcement official confirmed that a member of the New York Yankees was aboard the aircraft. This is pretty shocking. Lidle could hardly be called a "goat" in the ALDS, though he did pitch pretty badly. Is it crazy to wonder if Lidle was so distraught to have crashed himself into a building? Lidle's passport was found on the street below the wreckage. The latest report says 9 people have been admitted to a local hospital with injuries from the crash.

UPDATE: 5:05 PM - It has pretty much been confirmed that Cory Lidle was the owner and pilot of the plane that crashed. Lidle was 34 years old. In 1979, Yankees catcher Thurmon Munson was killed at age 32 while trying to fly an airplane in Canton, Ohio. This is just bizarre and tragic. Lidle was also a former Mets pitcher.

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