Plane from LI museum pulled from Hudson River

The World War II-era plane from a Long Island museum that went down in the Hudson River Friday has been recovered, and a tribute has been planned for the pilot who died.

The plane went down around 7:30 p.m. in the water off Manhattan's 79th Street in the river between New York City and New Jersey, about two miles south of the George Washington Bridge.

Scuba divers recovered the body of the 56-year-old pilot from the submerged plane about three hours later, the NYPD said. Police identified the pilot as William Gordon, of Key West, Florida.

The plane was from the American Air Power Museum in Farmingdale. Firefighters said the aircraft had engine trouble prior to going down, and witnesses reported seeing smoke spewing from the craft. First responders said the plane sank quickly.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane was a World War II vintage P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft. It was apparently flying to shoot promotional material for the Bethpage Air Show this weekend at Jones Beach.

Gordon was a veteran air show pilot with more than 25 years of experience, according to promotional material for a Key West air show that was held last month.

The FAA said that the P-47 was one of three aircraft that departed from Republic Airport in Farmingdale Friday evening. The other two aircraft returned to Republic Airport and landed safely.

Designed by Republic Aviation, the plane was one of the main U.S. Army Air Force fighters of World War II.

Investigators are working to determine the exact cause of the crash. The plane was pulled from the bottom of the river on Saturday by a crane.

A tribute was to be held Saturday afternoon at the American Air Power Museum to honor Gordon.

AP wires contributed to this report.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."