City Hall – Speaker Christine C. Quinn, together with Transportation Committee Chair John Liu and Council Member Gale Brewer, announced today that the Council will hold an oversight hearing in the wake of the mid-air collision over the Hudson River.

The hearing will be held on August 25, 2009, before the Transportation Committee.

“For too long, the FAA has taken a wait and see approach when it comes to air traffic over the Hudson,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “Well, we have waited. And now we have seen the senseless devastation that the lack of regulation has had for the families. Regardless of what the investigation uncovers, the time has come for the FAA to reassess their regulatory practices for the Hudson River corridor. And it’s time for the City to review and analyze our policies when it comes to air traffic over our neighborhoods.”

“West Side Manhattan residents have reported as many as 25 helicopters in 30 minutes flying over their homes. These flights are loud, low and dangerous, hovering over tall residential buildings, Central Park, and playgrounds,” said Councilmember Brewer. “On Saturday, August 8, I heard about the crash from Notify NYC and was horrified. Now nine people are dead, and we are left only with our extreme sadness and condolence to the families. Before this happens again, these tourism helicopter flights over Manhattan should be banned. I look forward to discussing this and all other options at the oversight hearing later this month.”

“This tragedy highlights the need not only for an emergency contingency plan, but a better system of coordination between City and federal authorities,” said Transportation Committee Chair John Liu. “What happened this weekend is not the only time we have seen a serious mishap concerning small aircrafts and helicopters over the rivers surrounding the City. The proximity of these accidents to residents and people on the ground is far too close for comfort. Our oversight hearing has been convened to gain a better understanding of procedures in place – if any – and what new procedures and protocols are necessary to save lives and limbs.”

A list of some of the attendees will be available in the days before the hearing.