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World War II plane crashes into Hudson River in New York

A World War II vintage plane has crashed into the Hudson River in New York. It had been taking part in celebrations of its 75th anniversary. Divers recovered a body from its sunken wreckage, police said.

The P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft went down near the George Washington Bridge at around 7:30 p.m. local time (0030 UTC) on Friday.

It was one of three planes that departed from Republic Airport in Farmingdale, on Long Island, just east of New York City. The other two aircraft returned to the airport and landed safely.

The single-seater crashed near where a US Airways commercial jet was splash-landed safely by its pilot in 2009, in what was known as the

Miracle on the Hudson.

The plane reportedly made a U-turn in mid-air, with a stream of smoke coming out of it. The plane sank "pretty quickly," North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue co-director Jeff Welz told The Jersey Journal.

Scuba divers recovered the body of 56-year-old William Gordon of Key West, Florida about three hours later, New York Police Department Detective Michael Debonis said.

P-47 Thunderbolt

P-47 Thunderbolt

The American Airpower Museum is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the P-47 Thunderbolt this weekend. Museum spokesman Gary Lewi said the plane was kept at the museum and was taking part in an air show at nearby Jones Beach this weekend.

"Apparently the aircraft suffered an inflight engine failure," Lewi said. "I'm told the aircraft is at the bottom of the Hudson."

The P47-Thunderbolts were the heaviest single-engine fighter planes used by Allied forces in World War II. They first went into service in 1942, with the 56th Fighter Group based on Long Island.

jbh/rc (AP, AFP, Reuters)