New York, NY (WVLT) - Images of the September 11th terrorist attacks were brought back to New Yorkers after a tragic plane crash into a Manhattan apartment building. Officials say New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and another man were on the small plane when it slammed into an apartment building Wednesday afternoon. The four-seat Cirrus 20 aircraft took off and flew north over the East River when eyewitnesses say it made a sudden hard turn and slammed into the Belaire Condominium Tower. "There was a loud noise and a big flash and an explosion about half way up the building," said one witness. The plane's engine ended up inside the apartment building and other debris fell to the ground. 21 people in the building and on the ground were injured.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators now say the plane did not send a mayday call before the crash. They say interviews with witnesses as well as radar data and the location of the wreckage will all play a role in the investigation. "There is incredible fire damage in the apartment, paint peeling from the walls," said Debbie Hersman, a Board Member at the NTSB.
The explosion and fire put New Yorkers on edge before they knew it was an accident. One witness said, "a crash had occurred and I was just hoping it wasn't a repeat of what we'd been through already."
A friend of Corey Lidle says that Lidle called in Wednesday morning to say he was heading to California and was going to make a few stops along the way, including in Nashville. The Union Station Hotel in Nashville confirmed Lidle had reserved a room there for Wednesday night. Lidle leaves behind a wife and one child.