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Pilot dead after vintage WWII plane crashes in Hudson River

On Friday, the pilot of a vintage World War II plane was killed after the small aircraft crashed into the Hudson River, officials and eyewitnesses said.

Officials said the P-47 Thunderbolt fighter - a single-seater plane - started smoking and listing to one side as it buzzed over the water and went down just south of the Edgewater Marina in Edgewater, New Jersey around 7:30 p.m.

"It made kind of a U-turn and then there was a stream of smoke coming from it," Siqi Li, 22, a Hunter College student from Manhattan said. "It was tilting down toward the water I thought they were doing some sort of trick. I didn't realize it at first but it was a plane crash."

Reports said the body of the pilot was recovered from the plane around three hours later.

According to museum spokesman Gary Lewi, the vintage aircraft and two other planes left the American Airpower Museum at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, Long Island on a photo flight. The P-47, known as "Jacky's Revenge," is registered to Jeff Clyman.

Clyman chose not to comment on any question to Lewi.

"It suffered some sort of catastrophic failure and the pilot decided to put it down in the Hudson," Lewi informed. "It's a tragedy." He further said that the P-47 was scheduled to perform at Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach this weekend.