Subscribe

Vintage P-47 aircraft crashes in Hudson River, pilot killed (+video)

The P-47 Thunderbolt crashed Friday in the Hudson River during a promotion for the American Airpower Museum.

  • close
    NYPD divers ride a boat on the Hudson River near the site of small plane crash, Saturday, May 28, 2016, in North Bergen, N.J. A World War II vintage P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft crashed into the river Friday, May 27, killing its pilot.
    (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

Police divers were expected to begin raising the wreckage Saturday of a vintage World War II plane that crashed into the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey, killing the pilot.

The P-47 Thunderbolt crashed Friday during a promotion for the American Airpower Museum, which is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the P-47 this weekend.

Scuba divers recovered the body of the pilot, 56-year-old William Gordon, of Key West, Florida, about three hours after the crash.

Gordon was a veteran air show pilot with more than 25 years of experience, according to promotional material for a Key West air show last month. The website for the April 2-3 air show says Gordon was an "aerobatic competency evaluator" who certified performers to perform low-level aerobatics.

The New York Daily News reported that Gordon was originally from upstate Copake, in Columbia County, and "had spent years as the Chief Pilot of the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome and had recently flown in a show near his new home in Key West, Florida."

The single-seat P-47 crashed on a part of the river near where a US Airways commercial jet carrying 155 people splash-landed safely in 2009 in what became known as the Miracle on the Hudson.

A witness to the crash, Hunter College student Siqi Li, saw smoke spewing from the plane and thought it was doing a trick.

"It made kind of a U-turn, and then there was a stream of smoke coming from it," Li told the Daily News. "It was tilting down toward the water. I thought they were doing some sort of trick. I didn't realize it at first, but it was a plane crash."

Carla Nager told the New York Daily News that she was standing on her terrace at an apartment complex in Edgewater, N.J., with her husband when she heard “a sputtering” that sounded like an engine stalling.

“It wasn’t a nose dive, but he was descending rapidly,” Nager said. “He just came down, and boom, he was gone.”

The Federal Aviation Administration said the aircraft, which went down near the George Washington Bridge around 7:30 p.m., was among three planes that had departed from Republic Airport in Farmingdale, on Long Island, just east of New York City. The other two aircraft returned to the airport and landed safely.

Museum spokesman Gary Lewi said the plane was kept at the museum and was taking part in an air show at nearby Jones Beach this weekend.

The P47-Thunderbolts were the heaviest single-engine fighter planes used by Allied forces in World War II. They first went into service in 1942, with the 56th Fighter Group based on Long Island.

The one that crashed in the river flew periodically, including to other air shows, Lewi said.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK