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Old 10-11-2006, 05:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Small Aircraft Crashes Into New York City High-Rise Building

NEW YORK A small aircraft crashed into a high-rise building on Manhattan's Upper East Side Wednesday.

Local news reports quoted New York Fire Department officials as saying two people were confirmed dead. The FDNY confirmed to FOX News that there are people trapped inside the building on floors above where the fire is located.

FBI spokeswoman Christine Monaco said there was no indication the crash was a terrorist attack.

There were dozens of firefighters, emergency workers and other first responders on the scene.

The crash set off a raging fire that sent a pillar of gray smoke over the city, police said. Witnesses reported seeing a gigantic fireball come out of the building, police said.

Flames could be seen shooting from windows on two upper floors of the 50-story building, near the East River. Burning debris fell from the tower, and a column of gray smoke rose over the city.

"There's huge pieces of debris falling," said one witness who refused to give her full name. "There's so much falling now, I've got to get away."



Fire Department spokeswoman Emily Rahimi said the aircraft struck the 20th floor of the building, located at 524 East 72nd Street.

The Federal Aviation Administration is handling reaction to the incident. FAA spokeswoman Diane Spitaliere that it was a small, fixed-wing aircraft that was involved, but there was very little other information collected so far. A helicopter would be expected in that area of the city; no other aircraft should be around that part of Manhattan, the FAA said.

"Everyone was running down the street, kids were screaming and crying," Rich Behar, a New York City resident and former Time magazine reporter, told FOX News. "There was a lot of horror and terror when it hit," Behar added, saying the whole ordeal reminded him of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

As of 3:25 p.m. ET, the incident had not affected flights coming in or out of the New York area.

The building is a 50-story condominium tower built in 1986 and located nearby Sotheby's Auction House. It has 183 apartments, many of which sell for more than $1 million.

A spokesman for the National Transportation Security Board said that agency is organizing a team to send to New York to investigate the crash.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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