Late in the day, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner confirmed Lidle had died in the crash, along with another passenger, the Associated Press reported.
They rules out terrorism as the cause, instead a Homeland Security spokesman called the event a “terrible accident.”
The plane flew through a cloudy sky Wednesday afternoon and into the 20th floor of The Belaire, causing a loud boom and raining fiery debris onto the street.
Witnesses described the plane as flying erratically before the crash.
“He was out of control,” Rob Miranda told The New York Times. “He was on an incline, accelerating as he passed. Then he hooked around the corner, he hit the north side of the building, and you heard a tremendous explosion.”
The red-brick tower is about five miles from the World Trade Center.
The crash rattled New Yorkers’ nerves five years after hijackers linked to the terrorist al-Qaida network flew airplanes into the WTC’s Twin Towers, the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C., and into a field in Pennsylvania.
“I was worried the building would explode, so I got out of there fast,” said Lori Claymont, who fled an adjoining building in sweatpants, reported the Associated Press.
Firefighters, battling the blaze from the floors below, put out the fire in less than an hour.