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Services Held for Hudson Plane Victims

Friday, August 14, 2009

Services were held this morning in the Philadelphia area, for three of the victims killed last Saturday when their single engine airplane struck a sightseeing helicopter over the Hudson River. Steven Altman, his brother Daniel and Daniel's teenage son Douglas were mourned at Temple Sinai in Dresher, Pennsylvania. Six others were killed in the helicopter.

This, as federal aviation officials have removed an air traffic controller who was reportedly talking on the phone with his girlfriend at the time of the collision. His supervisor has also been suspended, because federal officials say he was out of the building at the time. The Federal Aviation Administration says the pair's actions probably had no effect on the crash. But former National Transportation Safety Board investigator Greg Feith says the FAA was right to suspend them.

FEITH: There was always a peripheral issue that came up, that wasn't necessarily directly involved in the cause or the contributing factor to the accident, but it was a safety of flight issue, that if unchecked could pose problems in the future.

Air traffic controllers, including supervisors, are considered on duty throughout their shifts, and are expected to be available in case they're needed, even when taking breaks.

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