A small plane crashed into a tourist helicopter on Saturday causing both planes to plunge into the Hudson River and claiming the lives of all nine occupants.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said there were five Italian tourists and a pilot aboard the helicopter and three people on the plane including the pilot and a child. Three bodies had been recovered by nightfall and officials said there are no survivors.

This has changed from a rescue to a recovery mission, Bloomberg said. Sadly, there's not a lot of rescue to be done.

It would appear that the airplane ran into the backside of the helicopter, Bloomberg said, saying the precise cause of the collision may not be known for days or weeks, pending an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Witnesses to the crash described how debris from the two aircraft disappeared within seconds beneath the water's surface as the two jets collided at noon local time in the area of West 14th Street in Lower Manhattan.

The helicopter was operated by Liberty Helicopter Tours.