The Belaire Crash: 'Fifteen Minutes'

Photo by Max Abelson.

Within an hour of the fatal crash of a small airplane into a Manhattan apartment building, the Upper East Side was transformed into an otherworldly crime scene–with packs of tourists and ATF agents and even hostage negotiators flooding York Avenue.

But not everyone arrived insantaneously. “What really surprised me,” said Alexa Liguori, who lives across the street on the 20th Floor at 525 E. 72d, “was that it took fifteen minutes for the fire department to get there. But the police arrived there within five.”

Ms. Liguori said her windows face the Belaire.

“There were people screaming, and the smoke, it was just a really scary sight. Right away there was one person that they found on the ground,” she said. “They pulled him into the driveway of my building.”

Ms. Liguori doesn’t recall another casualty, though The Times has reported two dead.

– Max Abelson

The Belaire Crash: 'Fifteen Minutes'