The bodies of seven people killed in a crash between a sightseeing helicopter and a small plane over the Hudson River have been recovered, the National Transportation Safety Board said today.

The helicopter, operated by Liberty Helicopter Tours of New York, took off from the West 30th Street heliport and was gaining altitude when it was struck by the plane, which was headed south to Ocean City, New Jersey.

The dead from Saturday's crash totaled to nine people, including three fathers and their three teenage sons. The private plane carried a family from Pennsylvania, and the helicopter held five Italian tourists celebrating a couple's 25th wedding anniversary.

Neither aircraft was required to carry electronic black boxes that record cockpit voices and flight data on larger planes which explain the cause of an accident.

It was the worst air disaster in New York City since a commercial jet crash in Queens killed 265 people in November 2001.