World War II Plane Crashes Into Hudson River, Pilot’s Body Recovered

A P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft, like the one above, crashed into the Hudson River in New York Friday. The 56-year-old presumed pilot, William Gordon, was declared dead after being pulled from the river three hours after the incident, police said. Photo by Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock

NEW YORK, May 28 (UPI) — The body of the 56-year-old pilot who is presumed to have been operating a World War II plane that crashed into the Hudson River has been recovered.

William Gordon, originally from Florida, appeared to have attempted escape from the wreckage as the small plane sunk, but was unsuccessful, CNN reported.

Police said Friday an investigation into the incident is ongoing.

The P-47 Thunderbolt went down on the New Jersey end of the river Friday after experiencing some sort of mechanical failure, eyewitnesses told The New York Daily News. An unnamed source told the outlet the pilot made a distress call before the crash.

His body was reportedly retrieved from nearby the downed plane by New York Police Department divers three hours after the incident.

The Bethpage Air Show, scheduled for this weekend, expressed “heavy hearts” in response to Gordon’s death. Although it is unclear whether Gordon was meant to participate in the show, its website said the weekend event will “continue as planned.”

“We are saddened by the news that the WWII P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft crashed over the Hudson last night. The pilot was a friend to us all and we send our deepest sympathy to his family and our friends at the American Air Power Museum. The Bethpage Air Show will continue as planned, but with heavy hearts,” event coordinators said.

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum describes the P-47 Thunderbolt as a popular ground-attack craft that was considered “one of the three premier American fighters, along with the P-51 Mustang and the P-38 Lightning.”

“The United States built more P-47s than any other fighter airplane,” the museum adds.


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