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Authorities scour Hudson River after crash

Aug. 9, 2009 at 2:22 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Authorities seeking to recover victims from this weekend's small plane-helicopter crash over New York's Hudson River resumed their grim task Sunday.

Boats from the U.S. Coast Guard and the New York Police Department scoured the river in drizzly weather from a base at Hoboken, N.J., while a barge with a crane was also at the site as officials sought to recover the bodies of five of the Saturday crash's nine victims, The New York Times reported.

A torso was recovered from the river Sunday morning, authorities said, the fourth crash victim to be found. Autopsies on the remains were scheduled for later in the day, Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the New York medical examiner's office, told the Times.

Officials said the floating wreckage of the tourist helicopter involved in the crash had been marked by buoys and indicated they were using sophisticated radar to find the sunken pieces of the single-engine Piper PA-32R plane.

The Times said the victims included five Italian tourists -- identified as a woman, two men and two children -- and the helicopter's pilot. Officials said it had just taken off from a Manhattan heliport.

Authorities identified the pilot and owner of the small plane as Steven Altman, 60, of Ambler, Pa. His two passengers were his brother, Daniel Altman, 49, of Dresher, Pa., and nephew, Douglas Altman, 16.

Both aircraft were less than 1,000 feet up, where pilots operate under visual flight rules without guidance from air traffic control. Citing the city's interest in tourism, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg Saturday said he opposed changing flight rules for the corridor.

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