Sunday, January 27, 2013

Piper PA-32-260 Cherokee Six, N1967E: Accident occurred January 27, 2013 in Yonkers, New York

NTSB Identification: ERA13LA121
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, January 27, 2013 in Yonkers, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/07/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32-260, registration: N1967E
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot was performing a personal sightseeing flight over the Hudson River at 1,200 feet above mean sea level. She reported the airplane contained 74 gallons of fuel at takeoff. While abeam a tower, the engine began to partially lose power. The pilot initiated the emergency procedures in the checklist and applied carburetor heat. Engine performance worsened and the carburetor heat was left on for about 15 seconds. She then turned off the carburetor heat and engine performance improved. After about 20 seconds, the engine began to lose power again. Unable to maintain altitude, she made a mayday call and performed a forced landing on the river. The engine and airframe were inspected after the airplane was recovered from the river. The engine ingested a significant amount of mud and debris and many engine components were corroded. No evidence of preaccident mechanical malfunction or failure was found with the engine, ignition system, or carburetor that would have precluded normal operation. Damage from prolonged water submersion prevented a test run of the engine. The airplane was not being operated in weather conditions conducive to carburetor icing.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A partial loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined because examination of the engine and associated components did not reveal any mechanical malfunction or failure that would have precluded normal operation.

On January 27, 2013, about 1730 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-32-260, N1967E, was substantially damaged following a partial loss of engine power and forced landing near Yonkers, New York. The commercial pilot and one passenger were not injured. The airplane was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a visual flight rules flight plan was filed. The local flight originated at Old Bridge Airport (3N6), Old Bridge, New Jersey, about 1630.

The pilot reported that she was conducting a personal sightseeing flight over the Hudson River at 1,200 feet mean sea level (msl). She reported the airplane contained 74 gallons of fuel at takeoff. As the aircraft was abeam the Alpine Tower, near Alpine, New Jersey, the engine started to “stutter.” She initiated the emergency procedures in the checklist and applied carburetor heat. Engine performance worsened and the carburetor heat was left on for about 15 seconds. She then turned off the carburetor heat and engine performance improved. She climbed the airplane to 1,200 feet, and after about 20 seconds, the engine began to stutter again. Unable to maintain altitude, she made a mayday call and prepared for a forced landing on the river. The airplane touched down smoothly on the surface of the water. The pilot and passenger exited the airplane and were rescued by first responders.

The wreckage was recovered from the river bottom on February 7, 2013. The upper portion of the rudder and the nose landing gear were bent. 

The wreckage was recovered to a storage facility at Clayton, Delaware, where a detailed examination of the airframe and engine was performed. The fuel selector handle was in the “left main” tank position. The magneto switch was in the “both” position. All engine controls were in the “full forward” positions. The carburetor heat was found in the “cold” position and functioned normally when tested.

Engine compression and suction were observed on all cylinders when the engine was rotated manually. The top of the engine was covered with mud. All of the ignition leads were removed and tested; the leads to the numbers 2 and 4 top spark plugs produced a spark when the crankshaft was rotated manually. No other leads would produce a spark. The top spark plugs were removed for inspection; the leads were covered with deposits and corrosion. The carburetor fuel inlet screen was removed and inspected; it contained a sand-like substance on the surface. The carburetor venturi was intact; however, it was lightly coated with mud and debris. 

A review of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin, CE-09-35, dated June 30, 2009, revealed that the temperature and dew point at the nearest weather reporting station were not conducive to carburetor icing.

Hudson plane crash victim talks to Eyewitness News 

 Hudson River plane crash: Hear dramatic 911 call: Westchester County police dispatcher gets information from a man after a plane crashed in the icy Hudson River.  

YONKERS (WABC) -- One of the victims who survived a single-engine plane crash into the icy Hudson River near Yonkers over the weekend is now home and speaking out. 

 The pilot, 39-year-old Denise De Priester, of East Windsor, N.J., and 43-year-old passenger Christopher Smidt, of Colonia, N.J., survived 20 minutes in the frigid waters before they were rescued by an off-duty cop and his son.  

 Smidt talked to Eyewitness News reporter Marci Gonzalez outside his home Tuesday, saying he has been taking flying lessons from his friend Denise for about a year and a half. On Sunday, she picked him up at Old Bridge Airport. And less than an hour into the flight, they started having mechanical problems.
"We both knew that there was a problem, and we both knew that we were going down," he said. He said all he could think about as the plane plummeted toward the water was his kids. 

"The first thing I did was call my wife," he said. "I said, 'Listen, don't even say anything. This is what happened. Tell the kids I love them, and I gotta go.' Then I hung up the phone and I called 911." 

The plane quickly filled with water after impact, and the 911 call captured the frantic moments that followed. 

On the call, Smidt frantically shouts, "We are in the plane. The plane is taking on water." 

County police dispatcher Melissa Seymour ascertains that the pair has flotation vests, then says, "I need you to get out of the plane and let me know when you're out...I need you to get out of the plane so you're not trapped." 

Smidt then calls to De Priester, "Get out! Get out!...We're going down!" 

Once he escapes, he yells, "The water's freezing!" He then tells Seymour he can't make it to shore.

She assured them a boat was en route, and then lost contact. 

CLICK HERE to hear the audio of the 911 call

The 43-year-old correction officer swam for nearly 30 minutes, battling the current and trying to stay above water until help arrived. 

"One point, I figured that was it," he said. "I was so cold. I couldn't feel any part of my body. I couldn't even move. And I just kept screaming and screaming. And Denise was like, 'Hold your energy. Stop!' I'm like, 'No, no, I'm not going to stop yelling until someone hears me.'" 

Eventually, someone did. Three off-duty Yonkers police officers, a retired colleague - and the 12-year-old son of one of them - happened to be at a boat club on the river and commandeered a boat. 

They plucked the freezing Smidt and De Priester from the river. 

Smidt, a correctional sergeant from Colonia, N.J., also spoke at a ceremony honoring rescuers at City Hall in Yonkers, N.Y. on Tuesday. 

When Smidt was pulled into the boat, "His hands were shaking," recalled 12-year-old Dan Higgins Jr., who had rushed to help with his father, an off-duty police detective. "...I took off my jacket and he wrapped it around his hands so he wouldn't freeze." 

"It feels good that I helped these people and I'm just glad they're alive," the young rescuer said. 

"The first thing I told them was, I think I said 'I love you guys,'" Smidt said. "I mean, there's nothing else to say." 

He says it's because of them that he is back at home with his wife and his kids. 

"You never know when it's going to be your time," he said. "And that wasn't our time." 

De Priester, who did not attend the ceremony, also is out of the hospital now. 

Smidt, asked if he'll fly again, replied: "Absolutely." 

CLICK HERE to see pictures from the Hudson plane crash. 
  Regis#: 1967E        Make/Model: PA32      Description: PA-32 Cherokee Six, Six, Saratoga, Turbo
  Date: 01/27/2013     Time: 2225

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: None     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Unknown

  City: YONKERS   State: NY   Country: US


INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   0
                 # Crew:   1     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   1
                 # Pass:   1     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   1
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Landing      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: GARDEN CITY, NY  (EA15)               Entry date: 01/29/2013 

YONKERS — The passenger on a plane that crashed into the Hudson River called 911 and expressed fear for his life as icy water was filling the plane, according to an audio recording obtained by The Journal News/

“I’m going to lose you, I’m going to lose you,” the passenger, Christopher Smidt of Colonia, N.J., cried during a frantic call with Westchester County police dispatcher Melissa Seymour. “We’re in the water, we’re filling up!”

“We’re in the plane, the plane is taking on water,” shouts Smidt, 43, who was on a plane piloted by Deniece De Priester-Kok, 39, of East Windsor.

“Is it possible for you to get out?” Seymour asks.

“We can get out if we have to,” he replies.

“I need you to get out,” Seymour advises him. “Get out of the plane.”

“The water’s freezing!” he cries. “I’m not going to make it to shore!”

The couple, donning life jackets, disembarked shortly before the single-engine, six-seat Piper PA-32 Cherokee sank into the river Sunday evening off Yonkers.

Yonkers police rescued them from the river. Both are in stable condition at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, said John Doyle, a hospital spokesman who identified the plane’s two occupants.

The passenger made the call about 5:25 p.m. Sunday to report that the plane had crashed into the river. The call was received at the New York state Transportation Management Center and a dispatcher there transferred the call to the county police.

Yonkers Deputy Police Chief Frank Intervallo said today that the pilot and passenger, who suffered from hypothermia, appeared to be fine and probably would be released from the hospital soon.

Smidt’s wife told The Journal News/ that her husband is doing OK but that he does not yet wish to speak to the media.

De Priester-Kok is certified as a flight instructor and commercial pilot in single and multiengine planes, with a rating to also fly under instrument flight rules.

The two took off from Trenton-Robbinsville Airport in New Jersey on a sightseeing trip of the Palisades, authorities said.

The plane was being flown under visual flight rules and the pilot was not receiving air traffic control services, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said.

The 46-year-old plane is registered to a Dominick Lipariti of Manalapan, N.J. He told the newspaper that he sold the plane just last week to a New Jersey woman he would not identify. A recreational pilot, Lipariti flew the plane to her on Tuesday, taking a 20-minute trip from Old Bridge to Robinsville, N.J. The plane was up to date with inspections and flew perfectly, he added.

“I was pretty shocked and just relieved that everything was OK,” he said of the crash. “I’ll let them recover, then I’ll send my regards.”

Yonkers police have no intention of looking for or raising the sunken plane, Intervallo said. Intervallo said the department discussed the matter with the Federal Aviation Administration.

“We have no reason to look for it,” Intervallo said. “We are done.”

He said if the insurance company wants the plane, it can raise it.

Eric Weiss, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said his agency will issue a report on the crash 10 business days after the accident.

Weiss said the plane must be removed from the water, but he does not know which agency will do it.

“The plane cannot remain in the river,” Weiss said. “Someone has to fish it out and someone has to pay for it.”

Weiss said his agency does neither. He said some authorities are talking about what to do, but he did not say which agencies.

An off-duty Yonkers police detective and his 12-year-old son were among the first responders who saved De Priester-Kok and Smidt, authorities said.

The plane came down in the river near the JFK Marina at 5:22 p.m., Yonkers Police Chief Frank Intervallo said.

Several Yonkers police officers and a retired city detective took a boat from the Hudson River Pilot House on Alexander Street to save De Priester-Kok and Smidt, who had gotten out of the aircraft and spent about 20 minutes on flotation devices.

“If we didn’t get there quick enough ... thank God we got there quick enough,” said Daniel Higgins Sr., an off-duty detective who drove the boat and whose son, Daniel Jr., 12, also was aboard and assisted in the rescue efforts. “It’s what we do for a living, and I’m just glad we were in the right place at the right time.”

The victims had yelled for help and were in a state of near shock after being saved. Smidt was walking after the rescue but De Priester-Kok was moved on a stretcher.

Police Commissioner Charles Gardner said they “really looked good” given the situation.

On the boat, Daniel Higgins Jr. helped lift the victim out of the water. He then used his jacket to wrap their freezing hands.

“My son did a great job,” Higgins Sr. said. “I couldn’t be prouder of him.”

Also on the boat were Yonkers Police Officers John Twomey, Joe Mahoney, Christopher Balezentis and Michael Atkins, and retired Detective George Farrell.

In addition to the Yonkers Police Department, the Yonkers Fire Department, state police, New York Police Department, New York Fire Department and Westchester County police responded.

The vessel used in the rescue was a pilot boat belonging to the Hudson River Pilots Association. A maritime pilot guides ships through dangerous or congested waters, such as harbors.

The crash occurred about four years after the “Miracle on the Hudson” landing by Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger of a U.S. Airways flight from La Guardia Airport.



 YONKERS (WABC) -- Authorities have released a 911 call from a passenger in the small plane that went down in the Hudson River on Sunday night. 

 A 43-year-man and 39-year-old woman were both wearing life vests when their plane plunged into the water.

The crash happened around 5:30 p.m. Sunday. The Piper PA-32 had departed from Trenton-Robbinsville Airport in Robbinsville, New Jersey.

Eyewitnesses saw the aircraft go down and become submerged in the river. The two victims were in the water for about 30 minutes before they were pulled to safety by an off-duty Yonkers police detective and his 12-year-old son, who used a boat from the Hudson River Pilot House to save the couple.

"They were drifting pretty quick," rescuer Danny Higgins said. "And if we didn't get out there quick enough, well, let's just say we're glad to get there quick."

"The lady was mumbling some stuff, I don't know what she was mumbling about," Danny Higgins, Jr., said. "They were both very stiff. They were numb, very cold."

The victims were treated for hypothermia and were listed in stable condition at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx. The plane was flying under visual flight rules, so the pilot was not receiving air traffic control services.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

The plane was registered to Dominick Lipariti, of Manalapan, N.J., according to FAA records. A man who answered the telephone at Lipariti's home told The Associated Press that it was his son's plane and that it had been sold to someone else. He declined to identify the buyer.

Story and Photos:

Yonkers police detective Daniel Higgins Sr. and his 12-year-old son, Danny Jr., helped rescue two people whose plane crashed Sunday night Jan. 27, 2013 in the Hudson River. 
Greg Shillinglaw/The Journal News

 A pilot and a passenger were rescued after a small plane crashed into the Hudson River off Yonkers on Sunday evening, police said.

Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner said the plane went down about 200 yards off the Yonkers Marina near JFK Memorial Drive and that the occupants, a man and a woman, were taken to a hospital for treatment of hypothermia.

"They were in the water for several minutes," Gardner said.

Gardner said about 5:22 p.m. police received several 911 calls about a plane that crashed into the Hudson.

The plane's occupants were using flotation devices when they were rescued by two off-duty Yonkers police officers using a Hudson River pilot boat. Officials said they were in the water about 20 to 30 minutes after the crash and taken to Jacobi Medical Center. Their conditions were not immediately known.

A Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman identified the plane as a single-engine Piper PA-32 and said the plane was flying under visual flight rules and not receiving air traffic control services.

The plane sank into the river and it was unclear when it would be recovered.

The 46-year-old plane was registered to Dominick Lipariti of Manalapan, N.J., according to the FAA's database.

A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board said the agency would conduct an investigation only if passengers had sustained serious injuries or the plane was badly damaged.

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