UPDATE: Pilot Does Not Survive Small Plane Crash into Hudson - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Pilot Does Not Survive Small Plane Crash into Hudson

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Photo by WNBC. Photo by WNBC.

The body of the pilot of the small World War II vintage plane that crashed into Hudson River off Manhattan has been recovered.

The FAA says a World War II vintage P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft went down in the Hudson River, about two miles south of the George Washington Bridge. 

The aircraft, from the American Airpower Museum at Republic Airport on Long Island, was scheduled to perform at the Jones Beach Air Show this weekend, museum spokesman Gary Lewi told NBC 4 New York.

The plane was on a photo flight with at least two other planes along the river when there was some kind of mechanical issue, and the pilot decided to ditch in the Hudson, Lewi said. It's not clear what the source of the problem was.  

Diners at Waterside Restaurant in North Bergen, New Jersey, tell NBC 4 New York they saw the small vintage plane appear to start landing, then go into the water nose first. 

They say they saw the pilot try to get out but he appeared to flail in the water and then sink with the plane. 

Chopper 4, first on scene, shows NYPD and FDNY Harbor units on the water, along with Coast Guard and New Jersey state police crews as they searched for the pilot. 

It's not clear where or how they found the pilot.

The plane will be scrapped by the Army Corp. of Engineers, authorities said. 

Other witnesses say they saw the smoke hit the water and at first thought it was an air show for Fleet Week, which draws thousands of people to the nearby Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum for events including live demonstrations.

The P-47 was the largest single fighter jet of World War II, and renowned for its toughness. 

Michael Gargiulo contributed to this report. 

Read more from our sister station in New York City -- WNBC.  

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