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Archive for Tuesday, August 18, 2009

NTSB changes key point in collision report

August 18, 2009

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— Federal safety officials investigating a midair collision over the Hudson River changed their account of the accident on a key point Monday, saying an air tour helicopter struck by a small plane wasn’t initially visible on radar to an air traffic controller handling the plane.

The National Transportation Safety Board had previously said the controller failed to warn the plane’s pilot of the potential for a collision with several aircraft in its path, including the helicopter, before handing off responsibility for the plane to another airport.

Nine people — three aboard the plane and five Italian tourists and a pilot aboard the helicopter — were killed in the Aug. 8 accident in an area of busy air traffic over the river between New York and New Jersey.

The board now says in a statement released Monday that while the controller at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey failed to warn of several aircraft in the path of the single-engine Piper, the tour helicopter wasn’t one of the aircraft on the controller’s radar screen until seven seconds after the handoff to nearby Newark Liberty International Airport.

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