Plane Crashes into Soph’s Building

Plane piloted by Yankee pitcher hits one floor above student’s condo

For Baruch Y. Shemtov ’09, a plane’s collision into a high-rise apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper East Side yesterday hit too close to home.

A plane owned by New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle crashed into Belaire Condominiums, where Shemtov lives with his father. The crash killed Lidle and his flight instructor.

“The plane hit literally a floor above my apartment,” Shemtov said. His father, who was not home during the crash, was allowed to enter the building around 6 p.m. last night. “Our apartment is intact but there’s just some water in the front door,” Shemtov said.

The New York resident heard about the incident when he stopped by his dorm before his Social Studies tutorial. His roommate informed him about a plane that had crashed into a building in Manhattan.

“I rushed to look, and right there on the homepage of CNN was my apartment building,” Shemtov said. “I’ve never been in this sort of panic mode.”

He began making frantic calls to locate his father and notified a fellow section member that he would not be able to make it to class.

Shemtov later learned that his grandmother had been on her way to drop something off at the apartment when she found out about the incident.

“Usually she comes into the city earlier in the day,” said Shemtov, whose grandmother was delayed at home for two hours. “She could’ve been there under normal circumstances.”

Shemtov was not the only Harvard affiliate in the building. “I’m aware that there are several Harvard alumni who live in the building,” he said.

Passing planes and helicopters are not an unusual part of the view from Shemtov’s window in the Belaire, which was built to sustain impact, he added.

“The one thing that this does demonstrate is that we need to re-assess the laws pertaining to the flight zones surrounding this building,” Shemtov said.

—Staff writer Lulu Zhou can be reached at luluzhou@fas.harvard.edu.