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Lidle Not Instrument Rated To Fly Plane

NBC | October 11 2006

Sources tell NBC 10 that former Phillies pitcher Cory Lidle was the pilot of a small plane that flew into a New York high-rise on Wednesday.

Officials now say Lidle and another person were killed in the crash. An FAA official told the Associated Press that there may have been another person on the small plane with Lidle.

Lidle was traded by the Phillies to the New York Yankess this July.

NBC 10 has also learned that Lidle was not instrument rated to fly the plane and could only fly when visibility was good. It was an overcast day in Manhattan.

The small plane flown by Lidle crashed into a high-rise condominium tower Wednesday on the Upper East Side, raining flaming debris on the sidewalks below, authorities said.

Lidle's passport was found on the street beneath the crash site.

A law enforcement official in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Lidle was on the plane. And Federal Aviation Administration records showed the single-engine plane was registered to the athlete.

The deaths were confirmed by Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner's office. There was no word yet on injuries linked to the crash on an overcast October afternoon, which sent thick black smoke soaring above the city skyline and flames shooting out of apartments above the tony neighborhood.

On Sunday, the day after the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs, Lidle cleaned out his locker at Yankee Stadium and talked about his interest in flying.

He explained to reporters the process of getting a pilot's license, and said he intended to fly back to California in several days and planned to make a few stops.

Lidle, 34, a nine-year major league veteran, came to the Yankees from the Phillies in a late-season trade. The journeyman pitched for seven teams during a career in compiling an 82-78 lifetime record.

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