Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Plane Hits NYC Hi-Rise!

UPDATE 3:52: Yahoo News has a live stream from a helicopter with a newscaster from somewhere in it. Seems to be (as she put it) a case of "prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and that seems to be the case here".

Side note: She doesn't realize that when she's not on-air, people watching online can hear her. It's clear from what she's saying that air traffic control has lost radar where they are temporarily, and she's telling the people with her to tell them they're not there so they can keep filming. Now that they're about to get radar back, she realizes they're probably going to have to move. I'm not sure what's worse (in her obliviousness here) - that air traffic doesn't currently have radar; that she is telling the world they don't currently have radar; or that she is lying to air traffic control. Meanwhile, as a newscaster, she's pretty good.

They're also running into weather problems. 'I want to make sure that we can get home and not... end up like these guys.'

Apparently, they're finding out that the helicopter that hit the building had mechanical problems. It hit the building, broke apart, and fell to the street leaving large chunks of debris. Helicopters don't have "black boxes".

Jameel alerted me to this first...

A plane smacked into an upper-East side hi-rise in Manhattan just a few minutes ago. Fires are raging in the floors around where it hit...

They're not sure if it's terror-related, and not sure if it was a plane or helicopter, but NORAD is scrambling fighter planes around US cities as a precaution. Seems to have been a small "general aviation" aircraft.

The crash set off a raging fire that sent a pillar of gray smoke over the city, police said. Witnesses reported seeing a gigantic fireball come out of the building, police said.

Flames could be seen shooting from windows on two upper floors of the 50-story building, near the East River. Burning debris fell from the tower, and a column of gray smoke rose over the city.

"There's huge pieces of debris falling," said one witness who refused to give her full name. "There's so much falling now, I've got to get away."

Fire Department spokeswoman Emily Rahimi said the aircraft struck the 20th floor of the building, located at 524 East 72nd Street.

More details as they come... There are people trapped on the floors above the fire.