Pilot survives terrifying helicopter crash into Hudson River

The New York Fire Department says a helicopter crashed into the Hudson River and at least one person, the pilot, has been pulled out of the water. CNN's Jason Carroll talks with a man who caught the incident on camera.

Posted: May 16, 2019 5:20 AM
Updated: May 16, 2019 5:20 AM

When a charter helicopter crashed into the Hudson River on Wednesday, the captain of a nearby ferry wasted no time coming to the pilot's aid.

"We just go and we just act," Capt. Adam Sciaino said. "There's no thought process. Just your instinct. You get on the radio and, and do what you're supposed to do."

The pilot was moving his aircraft from the fueling area to the customer section of the West 30th Street Heliport, and had trouble as he reapproached the facility, NYPD Assistant Chief Stephen Hughes told reporters.

The pilot, who only suffered a hand injury, deployed the helicopter's flotation equipment, keeping the aircraft from sinking.

Sciaino, who was shuttling his last load of passengers for the day, saw the aircraft in trouble and diverted his course. He estimated he was there in 30 seconds.

He told a deckhand to get on the bow and put a rescue cradle in the water. From his position he couldn't see the man in the water as he drew near so the deckhand used finger signals to get them close for a rescue.

Then he got a glimpse of the crash.

"He's standing on the side of the helicopter holding on," Sciaino said, adding that he used his loudspeaker to give the pilot instructions. "He turned, grabbed the ladder and came up."

It was the second water rescue in a decade for Sciaino. Ten years ago, he helped rescue a man stranded under a pier in winter. He also ferried people from New York after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Dock worker suffers minor injury

A dock worker who was trying to get out of the way of the helicopter was also injured after he slipped and hurt his wrist, police said.

Ashton Byrd was walking with a friend when he saw the helicopter going down, and managed to capture it on video.

The footage shows the aircraft descending toward the water with its nose down and its rotors moving. The helicopter appears to level out and as the pilot deploys floatation devices as he gets close to the water.

"It was the craziest thing I've ever seen," Byrd said.

Byrd said the helicopter appeared fine as it took off, but then the motor began to whine.

"He was just kind of spinning and then the helicopter got sideways on him and then that's when it started going down," Byrd said.

CNN affliliate WABC aired video from a different angle that shows the helicopter flying normally above the water as a ferry goes by. The rotors suddenly appear to slow slightly, and the aircraft spins twice and begins to drop with the nose pointing down. The crash occurs behind a tree line, but a piece of debris can be seen flying away.

The helicopter was a Bell 206, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters said.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 485655

Reported Deaths: 6558
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1007641586
Ramsey43106801
Dakota36297390
Anoka33293385
Washington22078256
Stearns18734201
St. Louis14805262
Scott13290107
Wright12526115
Olmsted1178988
Sherburne872872
Carver772640
Clay691587
Rice670491
Blue Earth594735
Kandiyohi579574
Crow Wing520681
Chisago499045
Otter Tail482170
Benton446490
Winona418349
Mower404731
Douglas392668
Nobles387047
Goodhue385768
Polk343162
McLeod339349
Beltrami337951
Morrison324547
Itasca313046
Lyon313044
Becker311342
Isanti306154
Steele300411
Carlton300149
Pine282016
Freeborn280723
Nicollet258641
Todd248030
Brown245037
Le Sueur235320
Mille Lacs227447
Cass220024
Waseca208717
Meeker207434
Martin189528
Wabasha18653
Roseau180217
Hubbard160640
Houston157314
Dodge15224
Renville149640
Redwood147027
Fillmore13728
Chippewa136335
Cottonwood134820
Pennington134416
Wadena130920
Faribault123017
Aitkin118833
Sibley117310
Watonwan11738
Rock115714
Kanabec107519
Pipestone101424
Yellow Medicine97617
Murray9448
Jackson93510
Swift87918
Pope8045
Marshall77815
Stevens7418
Lake74018
Clearwater71914
Lac qui Parle68416
Wilkin67110
Koochiching61811
Big Stone5163
Lincoln5062
Grant4918
Norman4788
Unassigned46768
Mahnomen4417
Kittson40921
Red Lake3625
Traverse3055
Lake of the Woods2191
Cook1180

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 362827

Reported Deaths: 5440
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58260551
Linn20670313
Scott18318210
Black Hawk16258292
Woodbury14979211
Johnson1384874
Dubuque13562194
Dallas1138690
Pottawattamie10791143
Story1024945
Warren556674
Clinton543784
Cerro Gordo533782
Webster519587
Marshall497272
Sioux494869
Buena Vista474537
Des Moines458861
Muscatine452291
Wapello4345108
Jasper417766
Plymouth395378
Lee375452
Marion359169
Jones294154
Henry293337
Carroll286249
Bremer280854
Crawford275135
Boone259730
Washington254347
Benton253854
Mahaska224746
Jackson221638
Dickinson217840
Tama213765
Kossuth208555
Clay193625
Hamilton192142
Delaware189140
Winneshiek189127
Buchanan185729
Fayette185235
Page183319
Hardin181439
Wright179931
Harrison179469
Cedar178523
Clayton168154
Butler167231
Mills163020
Floyd162741
Cherokee154836
Madison154718
Poweshiek154330
Hancock147130
Allamakee146747
Lyon145941
Iowa145023
Appanoose139247
Grundy139230
Jefferson138734
Winnebago138631
Cass134751
Calhoun133811
Mitchell130940
Louisa128241
Union126631
Chickasaw125215
Sac124618
Emmet121740
Shelby121733
Franklin118319
Humboldt117925
Guthrie116628
Palo Alto105221
Montgomery104136
Howard102921
Clarke100420
Unassigned9900
Keokuk98229
Monroe93328
Adair92128
Ida91432
Pocahontas85419
Davis83123
Monona81627
Greene77510
Lucas74021
Osceola70615
Worth6997
Taylor66612
Fremont5909
Decatur5829
Van Buren56118
Ringgold52320
Wayne48921
Audubon4889
Adams3274
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 43°
Mason City
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 49°
Albert Lea
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 43°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 43°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 44°
Mild conditions expected this week
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events