Lidle�s plane bound for Nashville

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 at 1:00am

New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle, who died this afternoon after piloting a plane into the side of a New York City apartment building, was destined for Nashville, The City Paper has learned.

Lidle had hotel reservations in Nashville for Wednesday evening, and had planned to have dinner with a friend, David Whitis, who lives in Nashville, before heading on to Los Angeles, sources have told The City Paper.

�He had a one-night reservation for this evening,� said Melanie Fly, director of marketing for Union Station Hotel, 1001 Broadway.

Whitis called in to 104.5 WGFX-FM's afternoon sports call-in show, The Sports Zone, to confirm Lidle's destination was Nashville.

"[Lidle] called me this morning at 11:30 central time," Whitis told WGFX.

"We'd been in contact the past few days," Whitis continued. "He said he was flying his plane back to California and why not stop here in Nashville and hang out."

Whitis, a professional poker player, said he met Lidle through Nashville native Chris Moneymaker, the 2003 World Series of Poker champion.

A spokesman with the Nashville Airport Authority said late Wednesday that no flight plan had been filed for a plane bearing the tail number of Lidle�s single-engine aircraft. According to the Federal Aviation Administration�s Web site, a plane with the tail number N929CD had been registered to Cory Lidle.

The news that a plane had flown into a building in Manhattan resulted in a flury of panic and speculation until federal authorities confirmed that it was an accident and not a terrorist incident.

By late Wednesday afternoon, authorities confirmed that the plane belonged to Lidle, who was an inexperienced pilot. It remained unclear who else besides Lidle was in the plane that killed Lidle and at least one other person.

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