Monday, February 28, 2011

Pilot's body recovered in Hudson crash

A helicopter flies over the Hudson River in this 2009 file photo.A helicopter flies over the Hudson River in this 2009 file photo.NEW: Crews recover the pilot's body from the Hudson River, the FAA saysNEW: The next step is to remove the rest of the plane from the water, the FAA saysThe vintage military jet crashed Saturday near Ulster, New York

(CNN) -- Emergency crews on Sunday recovered the body of the pilot of a vintage military jet that crashed into the icy waters of the Hudson River near Ulster, New York, the day before, an FAA spokeswoman said.

Divers worked until sunset Saturday night, but were unable to extract the body of pilot Michael Faraldi from the ice- and mud-encased cockpit until they returned to the scene on Sunday.

Faraldi's jet crashed after he made a low pass over the Kingston-Ulster Airport, according to FAA spokeswoman Holly Baker. The plane dropped vertically and hit the ice, she said. Faraldi had taken off from Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

New York State Police Captain Patrick Regan said witnesses at the airport told police that they saw the plane climb and then rapidly dive at some point before the crash occurred.

Faraldi was apparently headed for Columbia County, New York, when he crashed, Regan said.

Divers worked in 8 to 10 feet of water to attach straps to the plane, a 1969 BAC 167 Strikemaster jet, so that a recovery helicopter from a New Hampshire company could try to lift it out of the river Sunday afternoon, Regan said. At least part of the plane remained in the river Sunday afternoon, according to Baker.

The plane is registered to Dragon Aviation, a company that performs in air shows, according to their website.

CNN's Nina Golgowski contributed to this report

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