Vintage WWII plane crashes in Hudson River near North Bergen

A World War II-era plane (P-47 Thunderbolt) fell from the sky in the area behind Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen around 7:30 p.m, according to sources.

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Small vintage plane crashed into the Hudson River on Friday, May 27, 2016. (Credit: Carlos Chacón)

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Small vintage plane crashed into the Hudson River on Friday, May 27, 2016. (Credit: Carlos Chacón)

As of 10:30 p.m. authorities said the body of the pilot, 56-year-old Bill Gordon of Key West, Fla. had been recovered.  Late Friday his identity was not available.

Police boats were visible near 79th Street on the west side of Manhattan.

The Hudson County Sheriff’s Department, North Bergen Police, North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue, FDNY, Port Authority Police Emergency Service Unit, United States Coast Guard, New Jersey State Police and NYPD Harbor units were on the scene, according to officials.

When I spoke with him at 9:50 p.m., NHRFR Chief Frank Montagne told me they were standing by at that hour to try to lift the plane out of the water so divers could find the pilot and any additional survivors.

“The current is too swift so they have the Army Corps of Engineers coming in to try to lift the plane,” Montagne says.

Earlier, the NJSP tweeted that the pilot was rescued and taken to a local hospital with minor injuries, but Montagne says that was not confirmed and the police later said the information was incorrect.

The confusion arose because civilian bystanders had dived into the water to try to rescue the pilot, according to a Coast Guard spokesman.

Witnesses say it was a chaotic and frightening scene and they saw Gordon desperately trying to escape.

As he tried to get out of the cockpit, the plane quickly started sinking, they say.

The plane (and two others with it) were from a Long Island museum.  They were doing aerials to promote the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach.

Engine failure is being attributed to the one that crashed, according to a museum spokesman — who says the pilot put it down in the Hudson.

“The plane is on the bottom (of the Hudson) right now,” Montagne said at the time.

Stay with Hudson TV for updates on this story.

About The Author

Jillian has a passion for news, giving voice to the voiceless and telling stories that make an impact. A New Jersey native, she spent the past two years as a multimedia journalist/one-man-band at WTAP-TV, the NBC affiliate in Parkersburg, West Virginia, where she covered everything from meth busts to fracking to the homeless to a young man struck by lightening. She was her news director’s “go to health reporter” and also covered many education and political stories. She frequently interviewed the mayors of Parkersburg, Vienna and Williamstown, WV and Belpre and Marietta, Ohio. She interviewed OH Gubernatorial Candidate Ed Fitzgerald and OH Congressional Candidate Jennifer Garrison, as well as WV Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and WV Senator Joe Manchin. Jillian was a regular fixture at the local police, sheriff’s departments, prosecutors’ offices and courthouses. Many looked forward to her ‘Mom of the Month’ series. Her story about two women who lost their children to heroin was widely recognized, along with her much loved piece on the Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis band camp. In her free time, Jillian enjoys yoga; working out, live music, spending time with friends on both coasts and the Mid-Ohio Valley. Follow on Twitter @JillianRis

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