New York Crash Aftermath

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Details as of our deadline were still in flux, but it appears that two people, including Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle, 34, were killed when a Cirrus SR20 (Lidle, a private pilot since February, purchased the aircraft in June) crashed into a Manhattan apartment building near the East River yesterday at about 3 p.m. The fiery crash attracted intense media attention and eerily recalled the horrors of 9/11 as black smoke poured into the sky and fire blazed from the upper floors of the 50-story Belaire building. Late reports said an instructor in the airplane also died and up to 21 people, most of them firefighters, were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. No residents of the building were hurt. AOPA warned last night that an editorial in today's USA Today will call for a ban of GA flying over large cities. A response from AOPA will run with the editorial. The response will say, in part, "Thousands of small aircraft fly safely over and near cities in the United States every day, just as cars and trucks drive on our highways and city streets.... The facts simply don't support USA Today's sweeping and harmful proposal." AOPA President Phil Boyer made similar points in network TV interviews during yesterday's media coverage of the crash.