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Small Plane Crashes Into New York Condo Building

Pitcher Cory Lidle of the New York Yankees.
Elsa / Getty Images
Getty Images
Pitcher Cory Lidle of the New York Yankees.

In Manhattan, witnesses saw a fireball on the Upper East Side, where a small plane slammed into a high-rise condominium building. New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and one other person were reportedly killed in the crash.

Wednesday night, New York City officials would only confirm that a flying instructor and a student had perished in the crash, which they said came after the plane made its way up the East River. It had taken off from a nearby airport in New Jersey.

The plane did not disobey any air traffic rules while visible on radar, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in an afternoon press conference.

Police at the 50-story Belaire bulding on East 72nd Street said that the cause of the crash was not immediately known. No deaths or serious injuries have been reported in the apartment building. Some residents were allowed back into the structure late Wednesday.

A construction worker across the street from the scene of the crash said that he heard the plane's engine revving as it neared the area. He and the members of his crew said the plane swerved to miss a large black office tower near the crash site. And when it struck the apartment building, the worker said, it seemed to be attempting a turn back toward the East River.

Lidle, who owned the four-seat plane, was well-known in the major leagues as a pilot. He pitched in the Yankees' recent series against the Detroit Tigers, coming out of the bullpen in the team's Game 4 loss.

Lidle is survived by his wife, Melanie, and their son, Christopher, 6.

In the hours after the plane hit the building's 41st floor around 2:42 p.m. ET, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security said there was no evidence of a terrorist attack.

In a statement, DHS said, "there is no specific or credible intelligence suggesting an imminent threat to the homeland."

Michele Norris talks with NPR's Robert Smith.

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Robert Smith is a host for NPR's Planet Money where he tells stories about how the global economy is affecting our lives.