Helicopter tragedy on the East River

Police and rescue boats search the murky East River yesterday at the spot where the chopper went down.

What was intended as a sightseeing tour above the Manhattan skyline ended in tragedy yesterday when a woman died after the private tourist helicopter she was riding in crashed into the East River.

The helicopter, which was carrying five people, had just taken off from the 34th Street Heliport when, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “Apparently the pilot said he was having trouble and turned back around.”

Instead of landing again, the Bell 206-Jet Ranger crashed and sunk into the choppy river.
The pilot, Paul Dudley, is reportedly the director of Linden Municipal Airport in New Jersey, Bloomberg said.

“Apparently the pilot knew the passengers and came over to pick them up,” he said.

The pilot and three other survivors were pulled out of the river after either swimming on their own or clutching the upside-down helicopter’s landing gear as it slowly sunk.

The last passenger to be found was reportedly a 40-year-old woman from Sydney, Australia. She was pulled from the water just before 5 p.m. and pronounced dead by the FDNY.

Bloomberg said two of the passengers were British and lived in Portugal, and the other two lived in Australia.

“New Yorkers feel for this family, and we wish it had not happened,” he said. “It’s a sad day.”

One survivor remained in very serious condition last night. According to reports, Dudley made an emergency landing in 2006 when his Cessna engine quit near Gravesend Bay. He landed in a field, and there were no injuries.


Eyewitness to tragedy

Kips Bay teacher Robert Dress brought his 9-month-old son to watch the
helicopters take off and land at the 34th Street Heliport yesterday
afternoon.

But instead of a fun-filled outing, the two ended up having front-row seats to a nightmare.

The helicopter went down so fast he didn’t realize what he was seeing, Dress recalls.

“I was watching it go down. It didn’t go down slowly.  It wasn’t a
graceful thing — it was very violent,” he said. “It didn’t break apart.
It went around in circles and went straight down.”

Dress called 911 immediately after seeing the crash. He then watched a man in a wet suit leap into the water to pull out a woman.

“He’s the real hero today,” he said.  -Emily Anne Epstein/Metro

Past crashes
This isn’t the first time a helicopter has gone down in Manhattan: 28 choppers have crashed in the last three decades. Two years ago, a tourist helicopter crashed into a small plane above the Hudson, killing five Italian tourists, two pilots and two others. And in 1990, a helicopter crashed into a 14-story building, killing the pilot. In 2005, two helicopters crashed three days apart in Manhattan waters, one carrying six business executives and one carrying six tourists.

Call for tighter rules

Rep. Carolyn Maloney called yesterday for an investigation into the bustling air traffic above Manhattan. “Federal transportation officials should investigate not only the causes of this crash, but also whether it is safe to have such a high volume of helicopter traffic over our city,” she said


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.