World

Pilot manages to escape as helicopter goes down in Hudson River

AP

A helicopter crashed into the Hudson River near a busy Manhattan heliport Wednesday and partially sank, but not before the pilot was able to escape.

New York City Fire Department officials said the pilot was being treated for a nonlife-threatening injury after the helicopter landed in the river at around West 30th Street.

No other people were aboard but a worker at the heliport was hurt by flying debris, the fire department said on Twitter.

A mobile phone video of the helicopter going down, taken by a WCBS TV editor, showed it descending into the river just feet from the helipad. The aircraft came down quickly, but it wasn’t in freefall. Its blades were rotating.

Anthony Raisley, 20, a college student from Middletown, New Jersey, said he and a friend were at the nearby High Line park, watching the river, when they noticed a helicopter near the pad, spinning and wobbling in a way that didn’t seem normal.

The friends thought it might be a stunt.

“The next thing you know, it was out of sight,” he said.

His reaction: “Just shock. You see this stuff in the news, and you never think you’ll witness it.”

Video footage from hovering TV news helicopters taken in the aftermath of the crash showed the helicopter capsized and mostly beneath the water but kept from totally sinking by inflatable pontoons that deployed as the aircraft was about to hit the surface.

It was tethered to rescue boats and the helipad pier.

The Fire Department said it got its first call about the crash at around 2:30 p.m.

The FAA identified the helicopter as a Bell 206.

Traffic was moving at a crawl on a busy road that passes by the scene.

A person who answered the phone at a lounge at the helipad said the pilot made an “emergency landing” but was OK.