New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle was at the controls of a small Cirrus-SR20 plane – a plane notorious for its difficult handling – that crashed into an Upper East Side residential high rise at 3:02 PM. Lidle and his flight instructor are confirmed dead. Lidle’s passport was found in the street below the crash, which occurred on about the 40th and 41st floors. The four alarm fire was extinguished around forty minutes later, but not after all New Yorkers’ nerves were badly jangled as the event eerily called back the horrific images of 9/11. Miraculously, no one in the apartments was killed.
Lidle had conversations with reporters about his plans to fly the plane to California with “a few stops” along the way. The AP article states:
“On Sunday, the day after the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs, Lidle cleaned out his locker at Yankee Stadium and talked about his interest in flying.
He explained to reporters the process of getting a pilot’s license, and said he intended to fly back to California in several days and planned to make a few stops. Lidle disccused the plane crash of John F. Kennedy Jr. and how he had read the accident report on the National Transportation Safety Board Web site.
Lidle, acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies on July 30, told The New York Times last month that his four-seat Cirrus SR20 plane was safe.
“The whole plane has a parachute on it,” Lidle said. “Ninety-nine percent of pilots that go up never have engine failure, and the 1 percent that do usually land it. But if you’re up in the air and something goes wrong, you pull that parachute, and the whole plane goes down slowly.”
Lidle took off from Teeterboro Airport in New Jersey, just 15 minutes from where it crashed into 524 E.72d St. Eyewitness accounts have it flying erratically. From ESPN.com:
“The twin-engine plane came through a hazy, cloudy sky and hit the 20th floor of The Belaire — a red-brick tower overlooking the East River, about five miles from the World Trade Center — with a loud bang, touching off a raging fire that cast a pillar of black smoke over the city and sent flames shooting from four windows on two adjoining floors.
Large crowds gathered in the street in the largely wealthy New York neighborhood, with many people in tears and some trying to reach loved ones by cell phone.
“I was worried the building would explode, so I got out of there fast,” said Lori Claymont, who fled an adjoining building in sweatpants.
Young May Cha, a 23-year-old Cornell University medical student, said she was walking back from the grocery store down 72nd Street when she saw an object out of the corner of her eye.
“I just saw something come across the sky and crash into that building,” she said. Cha said there appeared to be smoke coming from behind the aircraft, and “it looked like it was flying erraticaly for the short time that I saw it.”
Sadly, conspiracy nuts and the lunatic fringe are already screaming about an FDNY cover-up and are shamelessly and callously soiling the memory of those killed in this terrible accident just to make a political statement that 911 was somehow an inside job. [Editor’s Note: We refuse to directly link to such an atrocity. The link to the site, “Loose Change,” a group connected to the radical “Truthers” 9/11 inside job conspiracy nuts, is in in the body of the “Hot Air” piece.]
In an equally callous and surreal moment, actor Alec Baldwin (pictured right) fumes at a New York City Police Officer after he is inconvenienced by having to wait to get near the scene of the crash. No word on the location of Charlie Sheen.