Last updated: 02:45 PM ET, Sat May 28 2016

Pilot Dies After Plummeting into Hudson River

Impacting Travel | Amy Coyne Bredeson | May 28, 2016

Pilot Dies After Plummeting into Hudson River

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

The pilot of a vintage World War II fighter plane died Friday night after crashing into the Hudson River, The Associated Press reported. 

The single-seat P-47 Thunderbolt, which was taking part in Fleet Week festivities in New York City, experienced engine trouble just before plummeting into the New Jersey side of the river, the New York Police Department told AP.

Some spectators thought the plane was performing a stunt.

READ MORE: January 15, 2009: Five Years Since the Miracle on the Hudson

“It made kind of a U-turn, and then there was a stream of smoke coming from it,” Manhattan college student Siqi Li told the New York Daily News. “It was tilting down toward the water. I thought they were doing some sort of trick. I didn’t realize it at first but it was a plane crash.” 

The New York Police Department released a statement Saturday, saying the pilot had been identified as 56-year-old William Gordon of Key West, according to AP.

The P-47 Thunderbolt was being honored for its 75th anniversary during the weeklong celebration, AP reported.

READ MORE: 24 Hours in New York City: What to See and Do

North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue co-director Jeff Welz told AP that the plane sank quickly. Police are investigating the crash.

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