HOME About Blog Contact Hotel Links Donations Registration
NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Aircraft Hits Manhattan Building; 2 Dead

A small plane crashed into an Upper East Side high-rise Wednesday, shooting flames out the windows, raining debris on the sidewalks below and rattling New Yorkers' nerves exactly one month after the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. Police confirmed 2 people are dead.

Christine Monaco, a New York spokeswoman for FBI, said there was no indication of terrorism, but that officials "have been sent to the scene as a routine." FAA spokesman Jim Peters said all three New York City-area airports were operating normally.

"The initial indication is that there is a terrible accident," said Department of Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke.

The aircraft struck the 20th floor of a building on East 72nd Street, said Fire Department spokeswoman Emily Rahimi. Witnesses said the crash caused a loud noise, and flames were seen shooting out of the windows.

"It's a mob scene with police and helicopters circling," said Sandy Teller, watching from his apartment a block away. "There's a dozen ambulances and lots of firefighters waiting on 72nd, on the corner. There's lots of stretchers ready, gurneys. And lots of emergency people waiting."

The crash struck fear in a city devastated by the attacks of Sept. 11 five years ago. Witnesses said sirens echoed across the east side of Manhattan as emergency workers rushed to the scene. The crash triggered a loud bang. Broken glass and debris was strewn around the neighborhood.

"There's a sense of helplessness," Teller said. "Cots and gurneys, waiting. It's a mess."

The Federal Aviation Administration said it was too early to determine what type of aircraft was involved, or what might have caused the crash in the middle of a hazy October afternoon.

Richard Drutman, a professional photographer who lives on the building's 11th floor, said he was speaking on the telephone when he felt the building shake.

"There was a huge explosion. I looked out my window, and saw what appeared to be pieces of wings, on fire, falling from the sky," Drutman said.

He and his girlfriend quickly evacuated the building.

The address of the building is 524 E. 72nd Street _ a 50-story condominium tower built in the late 1980s and located near Sotheby's auction house. The Belaire Condo, developed by William Zeckendorf Jr., has 183 apartments, many of which sell for more than $1 million.

Several lower floors of the building are occupied by doctors and administrative offices, as well as guest facilities for family members of patients at the Hospital for Special Surgery, hospital spokeswoman Phyllis Fisher said. No patients were in the high-rise building and operations at the hospital a block away weren't affected, Fisher said. The Hospital for Special Surgery specializes in orthopedic operations.

Web IntelligenceSummit.org
Webmasters: Intelligence, Homeland Security & Counter-Terrorism WebRing
Copyright © IHEC 2008. All rights reserved.       E-mail info@IntelligenceSummit.org