|10-11-2006, 01:58 PM||#2|
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Join Date: May 2004
EW YORK (CNN) -- A small airplane crashed into a 50-story residential building on Manhattan's East Side on Wednesday, killing at least one person, the New York City Fire Department said.
Flames were shooting out from several windows midway up the luxury highrise in a residential neighborhood.
The Federal Aviation Administration described the plane as a "general aviation" fixed-wing aircraft flying under visual flight rules, meaning a pilot was flying by visual landmarks.
The plane hit the Belaire Condominiums, built in 1989 at 524 E. 72nd Street near the East River. More than 150 firefighters are on scene of a four-alarm fire in the building.
There was no word on casualties. NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) said it had put fighter aircraft into the air over numerous U.S. cities, though they said they had no reason to believe the event in New York was anything more than an accident, sources told CNN's Barbara Starr. It did the same thing after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
"I have no idea where this thing (the plane) came from," said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs New York area airports.
"We haven't heard from any of our facilities that anything's missing." New York City government source told CNN there are "no indications of terrorism."
The FAA placed a one-mile flight restriction around the site of the crash, but New York area airports were not affected.
It's unclear if the crash was a result of terrorism. A senior U.S. official in Washington said the administration was waiting for more information.
"The fire was raging out of two windows," witness Sarah Steiner told CNN. "It looks like the plane just flew into someone's living room."
Steiner said fires were burning on the ground. "It looks like the plane just flew into someone's living room there." (Watch the orange flames ravage the apartment -- 1:50)
"It looks as if the aircraft didn't go into the building but fell down," she said. "It may be part of the debris burning on the ground."
Video from the scene shows at least three apartments in the high-rise fully engulfed in flames.