Dive crews returned to the Hudson Monday, 48 hours after a small plane and helicopter collided, killing everyone on board. The recovery mission’s priority is to find the bodies of the final two victims, but also on the list is bringing up the wreckage of the Piper plane located deep underwater.
Misaskim was contacted by the NTSB on Motzei Shabbos, and informed that the occupants of the airplane were possibly Jewish, and would require their services. Misaskim dispatched a response team to Hoboken, NJ where the NTSB recovery staging area has been established.
The plane’s pilot was 60-year-old Steven Altman, of Ambler, Pa Also in the plane were 49-year-old Daniel Altman, of Dresher, Pa.; and his 16-year-old son, Douglas.
As of this posting, only the body of 16-year-old Douglas Altman has been identified (from the airplane), and Misaskim is working to ensure proper Kavod Hames will be given to the deceased, and are working closely with family members and the Medical Examiners.
The five tourists who were on board the Liberty Tours chopper were from the Bologna, Italy, area. They have been recovered and identified as 51-year-old Michele Norelli, 16-year-old Filippo Norelli, 49-year-old Fabio Galazzi, 15-year-old Giacomo Gallazi and 44-year-old Tiziana Pedroni.
The plane, a Piper PA-32, was registered to LCA Partnership in Fort Washington, Pa. The address is shared by a real estate company run by Steven Altman.
Liberty Tours runs sightseeing excursions around the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Manhattan at costs ranging from $130 to about $1,000.
Two years ago, a Liberty helicopter fell 500 feet from the sky during a sightseeing trip. The pilot was credited with safely landing the chopper in the Hudson and helping evacuate her seven passengers.
In 1997, a rotor on one of its sightseeing helicopters clipped a Manhattan building, forcing an emergency landing. No one was hurt.
YWN will post further information as soon as it becomes available to us.
(Yehuda Drudgestein / YWN Aviation Chief 32)