Vintage jet crashes in Hudson near Kingston, NY

AP News
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Posted: Feb 26, 2011 11:39 PM
Vintage jet crashes in Hudson near Kingston, NY

A vintage military jet, now privately owned and flown in air shows, crashed into ice on the Hudson River on Saturday as it came in for a landing at an airport in Kingston, authorities said. The pilot was missing and feared dead.

A search for the pilot, identified as Michael Faraldi, 38, of Germantown, was suspended late in the evening, state police said.

Divers searching the river for signs of Faraldi discovered that the front section of the plane, including the cockpit, had struck the river bed in about 5 feet of water, police said. The search was expected to resume Sunday.

The accident happened at about 1:30 p.m. near the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge, which spans the river midway between Albany and New York City.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Holly Baker said the aircraft was partially submerged after the crash. Only one person was known to be aboard the plane when it went down.

Faraldi was piloting the plane from Nashville, Tenn., to an airport in Ghent, N.Y., state police said.

The jet, a British-made BAC 167 Strikemaster, was headed to Kingston-Ulster Airport from an airfield Johnstown, Pa., when it went down, Baker said. The aircraft made a low pass over the airstrip before hitting the river.

There was no immediate word on whether the pilot reported any problems before the crash.

The jet was a type of training and light attack aircraft first made in the late 1960s and used by various air defense forces in the Middle East, Africa, South America and elsewhere. In recent years, it was owned by Dragon Aviation, a company that flies fighter jets in air shows all over the country.

A snarling green dragon adorned the jet's nose.

"This has got to be a bad dream," said the company's president, Andy Anderson, as he traveled to the crash scene Saturday afternoon. He said the pilot, who he declined to name, was "a good, good friend."

A person who answered the phone Saturday at Kingston-Ulster Airport said he couldn't answer any questions. The airstrip predominantly serves recreational aircraft and is home to a flying school. It sits just a few hundred yards from the river.