The memory of 9/11 has been rekindled in New York after a light aircraft crashed into a high-rise apartment building on Manhattan’s East Side, killing the two people onboard. US authorities have moved quickly to quash any reports of terrorism, in a city still jittery five years after the attacks. The pilot of the four-seater plane was one of America’s top baseball players, Cory Lidle. The New York Yankees’ pitcher died along side his flying instructor when the aircraft hit the building in overcast weather.
Lidle, aged 34 and a husband and father, earned his pilot’s license last year and bought the Cirrus SR 20 with less than 400 hours flying time. Emergency services moved quickly to evacuate the area. There are reports that 21 have been injured, the majority fire fighters with smoke inhalation. Five civilians were also treated for their injuries.
On the streets, nerves were clearly frayed: One woman said: “It sounded like a bomb but we were not sure what it was. But when we came out the entire street corner was filled with black smoke.”
US military jets patrolled the skies over several cities as a precaution but were stood down. On Wall Street stocks extended losses but quickly recovered when it became clear it was not a terrorist attack.