Hudson Crash Controllers Suspended, Collision Video Released
The FAA has suspended a Teterboro air traffic controller and a supervisor on duty at the time a Piper Saratoga and a sightseeing helicopter collided over the Hudson River. That announcement came as chilling video from a tourist on a boat on the river was released by NBC News showing the Piper approach the helicopter from the right quarter, bank slightly right and have its right wing severed by the rotor of the helicopter. Two men and a 16-year-old boy died on the Saratoga, and the pilot and five Italian tourists, including a 16-year-old boy, died on the helicopter as both dropped into the river. According to CNN, the FAA says the controller working the Piper was on the telephone conducting an "inappropriate conversation" when the collision occurred. The agency says the shift supervisor was not in the building. The National Air Traffic Controllers Union issued a statement urging there not be "a rush to judgment about the behavior of any controller" before the results of a thorough investigation. FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown told CNN that while the rules were broken, that didn't necessarily have anything to do with the accident.
"While we have no reason to believe at this time that these actions contributed to the accident, this kind of conduct is unacceptable, and we have placed the employees on administrative leave and have begun disciplinary proceedings," she said. NTSB Chairman Debbie Hersman told CNN the Piper pilot spoke with the Teterboro controller after takeoff and had been handed off to Newark tower on its flight to Ocean City, N.J., but never contacted Newark.