NEW YORK—A helicopter crash-landed in the Hudson River near a busy Manhattan heliport on Wednesday, May 15, and partially sank, but not before the pilot was able to escape mostly unscathed.
The 34-year-old pilot suffered just a minor hand injury after the hard splashdown, which happened just before 2:30 p.m. and was recorded by bystanders who saw the aircraft in trouble and whipped out their mobile phones.
“The pilot was uninjured and safely removed to land by a nearby passenger ferry,” the New York Police Department (NYPD) said on Twitter.
#NYPD Harbor secures a helicopter that fell into the Hudson River moments after taking off from the W 30th Street heliport. The pilot was uninjured and safely removed to land by a nearby passenger ferry. pic.twitter.com/3SZtpByEe7
— NYPD Special Ops (@NYPDSpecialops) May 15, 2019
No other people were aboard but a dockworker trying to get out of the way of the descending aircraft slipped and injured his wrist, fire and police officials said.
In a video released on Twitter by CBS, the helicopter, a charter aircraft, can be seen lifted out of the water on Wednesday afternoon by a marine crane after it was about 90 minutes in the river.
WATCH: A helicopter that crashed into the Hudson River near Manhattan Wednesday is pulled from the water by authorities; the pilot, who was the only person on board, was rescued from the wreckage https://t.co/DvNXkzE8DO pic.twitter.com/SXtIN9RJNb
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) May 15, 2019
At a news conference, authorities said the pilot had just taken off from the helipad after refueling when something went wrong.
“All of a sudden, he felt the helicopter go down,” said Police Department Assistant Chief Stephen Hughes.
A mobile phone video of the helicopter going down, showed it descending into the river about 150 feet from the helipad. The aircraft came down quickly, but it wasn’t in freefall. Its blades were rotating. Emergency pontoons inflated moments before it hit the water.
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 the aircraft spinning and wobbling in a way that didn’t seem normal.
They thought it might be a stunt.
“The next thing you know, it was out of sight,” Raisley said.
His reaction: “Just shock. You see this stuff in the news, and you never think you’ll witness it.”
There are currently 2 non-life-threatening injuries reported on scene of a helicopter crash into the Hudson River – the pilot and one heliport worker injured by debris. #FDNY operations continue. pic.twitter.com/Z1hA2PBKMC
— FDNY (@FDNY) May 15, 2019
The pilot, who was not immediately identified by authorities, quickly scrambled on to the aircraft’s pontoons.
The helicopter eventually capsized and sank mostly beneath the water but was kept from going to the bottom by the floats.
The FAA identified the helicopter as a Bell 206.
New York City has a history of both minor and major helicopter wrecks and crash landings.
Five people died when a sightseeing helicopter crashed into the East River last year. Three people died in another crash into the same river in 2011. Nine people died in a collision between a sightseeing helicopter and a small plane in 2009, not far from the scene of Wednesday’s mishap.
NTD News staff contributed to this article.