A Liberty Helicopter Sightseeing Tours helicopter and a small plane that took off from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey collided midair above the Hudson River on August 8, killing nine with no survivors. All bodies and wreckage have since been recovered from the river. The passengers taking a tour of New York City on the helicopter were five Italian tourists.
The accident occurred in a busy corridor over the Hudson in which pilots are free to decide their route, as long as they stay under 1,000 feet and don’t get too close to skyscrapers. Despite the tragic accident, tourists have remained unfazed and took to the skies for tours the very next day after the accident. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has even encouraged helicopter tours to continue, and that “there’s no reason why having helicopter tours shouldn’t be safe … I certainly don’t think that we should ban them.” A city councilwoman is pressing to ban tourist helicopter rides over Manhattan.
Taking in a birds-eye view from a helicopter is an increasingly popular tourism attraction in New York City and a thriving business despite the risk and high cost. Liberty Helicopter Tours offers a Lady Liberty tour costing $135 for 6 to 8 minutes, Big Apple tour of Manhattan landmarks for $165, a 16 to 20 minute tour of all five boroughs for $230, and a romantic private ride around Manhattan at night for $1,010.
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