Updated from 4:55 p.m. EDT
Two people were killed, one of them a pitcher for the New York Yankees, after a small airplane crashed into a high-rise residential building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan Wednesday.
The New York Times
, citing a confirmation by a city official, reported that Yankee pitcher Cory Lidle, 34, was among those killed. Police said the pitcher's passport was found either on a floor of the building or on the street below the crash, according to
Various media reports said the four-seat, fixed-single-wing aircraft that crashed into a condominium tower was registered to Lidle, although there was no immediate confirmation that Lidle was piloting the plane.
During a press conference, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that a flight instructor and a student pilot with 75 hours of experience were aboard and killed, but didn't confirm Lidle was one of them, saying the families of the victims had not yet been notified, according to the
Nobody in the building was killed, although
said New York Hospital received 16 patients related to the incident.
The crash occurred on East 72nd Street, near the corner of York Avenue. Televised footage showed flames engulfing parts of at least two floors, and thick smoke was pouring from the building. The fire was soon extinguished but there were initially conflicting reports about whether the fire was caused by an airplane or a helicopter. Police later said it was a small plane that crashed.
Reports say the building that was struck is the Belaire, a 50-story condominium tower. The building was a block away from the East River corridor.
reported that the Federal Aviation Administration allows planes to fly over the 8-mile-long corridor as long as they stay above 1,100 feet. FAA officials don't believe the pilot was in contact with air traffic controllers, and that he didn't have to file a flight plan.
Officials have been saying there is no evidence the incident was the result of terrorism. Even so, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, better known as NORAD, scrambled fighter jets to patrol the skies over several U.S. cities as a precaution. The specific cities weren't immediately identified.
Rescue personnel and firefighters were reported to have been on the scene of the crash quickly, owing to New York's experience with terrorist events in the past. Two hijacked planes crashed into and destroyed the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Once fears of a terrorist attack subsided on Wednesday, the event tragically echoed the death of Yankee catcher Thurman Munson, who died in 1979 while practicing to fly a plane outside Canton, Ohio.