A World War II vintage plane has crashed into the Hudson River off Manhattan, killing the pilot. The single-seated P-47 Thunderbolt went down near the George Washington Bridge where a US Airways commercial jet carrying 155 people splash-landed in 2009 in what became known as the Miracle on the Hudson. Witnesses said they thought the vintage plane was performing a stunt as it did a partial loop with smoke spewing from it before it hit the water. They also said they saw the 56-year-old pilot William Gordon scrambling to get clear but being sucked down into the water with the wreckage. Divers later recovered his body.
It made kind of a U-turn, and then there was a stream of smoke coming from it. 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
Witness Siqi Li
The plane, which was kept at the American Airpower Museum, was one of three scheduled to appear in an air show this weekend to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Thunderbolt. They were flying over the river for a photoshoot when the accident happened. Police said the plane sank quickly but, at first, erroneously reported that the pilot had survived and was en route to hospital with minor injuries. The P47-Thunderbolts were the heaviest single-engine fighter planes used by Allied forces in World War II but only a handful remain flying.
I saw the airplane was going around a couple of times, and then it just disappeared