Tourist just missed ill-fated helicopter

August 9, 2009 1:03:35 PM PDT
The grim reality of the Hudson mid-air collision...there are no survivors.However, Eyewitness News did find one woman who was supposed to be on that sightseeing helicopter -- but she and her son missed the ill fated flight.

The helicopter was a Eurocopter AS 350 owned by Liberty Tours.

Eyewitness News spoke to people outside of Liberty Tours.

Paola Casali, 42, was visiting from Rome. She says she booked the helicopter tour because she wanted her son to see and appreciate New York City from the sky. However, her son protested and they lost track of time.

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    Casali says that's the only reason they were not on the ill fated flight.

    "My son doesn't want to go," Casali told Eyewitness News.

    But Paoli convinced her 13-year-old son to fly with her -- and what a day to be late. They arrived minutes after the helicopter took off.

    "They (Liberty Tours) told me to come between midday and one o'clock on Saturday. When we arrived?I think the crash just happened," said Casali.

    Paolo says family members of some of the passengers were still at the heliport. She said they were told something happened to the flight -- before they whipsed inside behind closed doors.

    "They (other Italian tourists) said to me, 'we have some relatives on the flight and we don't know anything,'" Casali said.

    As family members were most likely being comforted inside -- other passengers, not aware of the collision kept showing up.

    Many were turned away by Liberty Tours while some rescheduled for tomorrow.

    "?I guess if it happens today, it won't happen tomorrow," one tourist told Eyewitness News.

    Paola waited outside for hours after the crash -- ready to comfort strangers she met only briefly in tragedy.

    She kept recalling how she really wanted to take her son on the sightseeing flight?A late arrival saved their lives.

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    WEB PRODUCED BY: Lakisha Bostick

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