Plus, from the New York Daily News, "Air traffic controller suspended, was chatting on phone with girlfriend during Hudson River crash":
The air traffic controller at Teterboro Airport was on the phone with his girlfriend during the mid-air collision over the Hudson River.More at the link.
His supervisor had wandered off and wasn't even in the tower.
Horrified officials called their actions "unacceptable," even though they were not blamed for Saturday's crash.
Both controllers - who were not immediately identified - have been suspended and will likely be fired.
Crash probes by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration revealed the two controllers seriously deviated from their assignments at the time of the collision.
Nine people died when a single-engine Piper plane with three aboard clipped a Liberty Helicopters sightseeing chopper carrying a pilot and five Italian tourists. Both aircraft plummeted into the river.
The NTSB and FAA discovered the controller lapses by listening to audio recordings from the Teterboro tower.
"We learned that the controller handling the Piper flight was involved in apparently inappropriate conversations on the telephone at the time of the accident," FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said.
"We also learned that the supervisor was not present in the [tower] building as required."
Babbitt said, "We have no reason to believe at this time that these actions contributed to the accident" but he called the laxness unacceptable.
"We have placed the employees on administrative leave and have begun disciplinary proceedings," he said.
Also, the New York Times, "Controller Was on Phone During Hudson River Crash."