"Oh, My Lord!": Dramatic Last Words Before Midair Crash

Chilling transcripts reveal final moments before tragic collision over Hudson

By Xana O'Neill and Daniel Macht
|  Thursday, Aug 20, 2009  |  Updated 11:42 AM CDT
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Victims of the Hudson Midair Crash

NBC News

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New Amateur Video Shows Mid-Air Collision Over Hudson

Shocking home video taken by a Italian tourist shows the dramatic moments before the crash in the skies over the Hudson River.
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"Oh, my Lord!"

Those were the chilling final words of a woman in the operations center at Teterboro airport as she realized a small plane had collided with a helicopter over the Hudson River moments after she had been joking with the controller watching over the aircraft about grilling a dead cat.

The shocking leaked transcripts detail the moments leading up to the tragic Aug. 8 crash that killed nine people and reveal the distracted controller was involved in multiple conversations -- talking with one of the pilots, the Newark control tower and a woman, who is believed to be his girlfriend, the New York Post reported.

The controller gave directions to the pilot of the doomed Piper airplane as he chatted with his girlfriend and joked about a dead cat she discovered at the New Jersey-based airport two minutes after the plane first took off.

"We got plenty of gas in the grill," he said. "Fire up the cat."

"Ooh, disgusting, augh, that thing was disgusting," she said.

The controller, identified to the Post as Carl Turner, 38, of Long Island, told the pilot of the Piper, Stephen Altman, that he was now in Newark Airport's control since he entered its airspace.

But the controller in Newark indicated he wasn't in contact with the small private plane.

"I'm not talking to him," he said.

Just seconds later the helicopter carrying six people appeared on the radar and the controller said "Damn" -- then hung up.

Another pilot reported that the plane crashed.

"Did he just say what I thought he said?" the woman asked.

Once the news was confirmed she said, "Oh, my Lord."

The Federal Aviation Administration placed the controller and his supervisor on administrative leave while the agency investigates what happened.

The agency said the controller's actions were inappropriate and unacceptable, but didn't appear to have contributed to the accident.

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