The deaths of Steven, Daniel and Doug Altman were "a terrible shock" to their close-knit family, a close relative said.
Steven Altman, 60, was the pilot of the single-engine Piper plane that crashed with a helicopter in New York and sank into the Hudson River Saturday. His brother, Daniel Altman, 48, and Daniel's 15-year-old son, Doug, were also on board.
"It was a terrible shock," 84-year-old Irving Altman, an uncle of Steven and Daniel, said of the tragic crash that scattered debris in the river.
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"They both were family oriented and very good businessmen," Altman told the New York Daily News. "They were such good parents. What a loss."
He said the tragedy was "real heartbreak" for his brother and Steven and Daniel's father, David Altman, 87. "We are a very close family," he said.
Steven Altman has a son and two daughters; his brother, Daniel, has two surviving sons, their Irving Altman told the Daily News.
The Altmans, of Ambler, Pa., own several construction and real-estate management businesses with thousands of apartments in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, according to the Daily News.
Montgomery County pilot Michael Chiodo, who knew Steven Altman and had sold him the Piper PA-32 plane that crashed, said Steven was a "great guy, great pilot."
"...His father [David] saw it [on television] and he knew exactly what it was. It's tragic," said Chiodo, who happened to be on the phone with the elder Altman and also watched coverage of the crash.
"I can't put myself in the cockpit, but I would imagine that it just got too close to this chopper, one way or another," he told NBCPhiladelphia.
According to Federal Aviation Records, Steven Altman had been a certified pilot since at least 2001 and had a Class 3 medical certification on his private pilot license from May of this year.
He lived with his family in Ambler, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia.
Daniel Altman lived in Dresher, Pa., another Philly suburb.
Both Steven and Daniel Altman's families have declined comment.
Authorities say they believe that all nine people aboard the two aircraft were killed.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.