The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed a small plane hit a building in the east side of Manhattan at about 2:45 pm (1845 GMT), reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).
"They were flying by visual flight rules in that corridor and (the plane) was not in contact with a tower," FAA spokeswoman Diane Sticaliere said.
"It's unknown what kind of aircraft and how many people were on board."
New York Police Department confirmed that the crash had left two dead and possibly more.
Flames and a trail of smoke billowed from two floors of a building on the affluent upper east side of Manhattan before firefighters contained the blaze at about 3:30 pm (1930 GMT).
Two emergency helicopters flew overhead as a crowd watched from the streets below.
Police closed off traffic to a six-block area around the site while firefighters tried to extinguish the fire.
"There was a boom sound, but we weren't sure what it was, and then they told us to evacuate the building," said Lilian Regolia, who works the opposite building.
Television images of the burning building evoked memories of the devastating attacks of September 11, 2001 on New York and Washington when hijacked airliners were flown into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
"I just stood there in shock, I thought 'this can't be happening to us again," said Chris Foege, a woman who lives on the same street.
It was like "9-11 all over again."
A police helicopter flies by the hit building. (Reuters)
The White House said Wednesday that "all indications" are that the crash was an accident.
There is "no confirmed cause of the crash," said spokesman Tony Snow.
"All indications are that it was accidental."
Earlier White House deputy spokesman Tony Fratto said they were not ruling out any theory for the crash, adding that there was no change in the country's terror alert level.
He asserted that President George W. Bush was informed shortly after the crash.
"The president is aware of it ... We are monitoring reports from up there; we are trying to gather information."
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has said there was no indication that the crash was related to terrorism.
"The initial indication is that there is a terrible accident," said Department of Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke.
US authorities scrambled fighter jets above US cities as a precaution after the plane crash.
"Fighters, along with early warning systems, they've been up there for half an hour, 45 minutes," Admiral Tim Keating, commander of the US Northern Command, told CNN.
He would not say how many cities were under air cover but insisted there was no sign of terrorism in the accident on Manhattan's post Upper East Side.
"There are no, repeat, no indications that there is anything underfoot beyond this one airplane or helicopter, whatever, light civil (aircraft) that flew into this apartment building in New York City," he said.
"But ... we reserve the right to exercise our capabilities, which is what we've done here."
Source: IslamonlineGüncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16