Helicopter makes emergency landing in Hudson River
UPDATED 6:29 P.M.: A family of four and a pilot in a tour helicopter escaped injury during an emergency landing in the Hudson River Sunday morning, according to authorities.
The helicopter went down at 11:58 a.m. -- 12 minutes after it took off -- at West 79th Street, according to the NYPD.
The Bell 206 helicopter, which belonged to the New York Helicopter charter sightseeing company, had taken off from Wall Street, when it had engine trouble and landed in the Hudson, authorities said.
According to witnesses, after the helicopter went down on the water on its pontoons, its inflatable safety balloon quickly helped it rise above the water.
The family of four on board, a Swedish couple and their children, two preteens, and the pilot had life vests on and were not in the water.
A family visiting New York City from Montreal and sailing on the Hudson arrived 10 minutes later and rescued the victims with a dinghy from their boat. A man on a personal watercraft also joined the rescue, taking the pilot to shore while the family went with the boat.
Rescuer Sebastian Berthelet, 38, who was on the boat, said, "It was fast. At first we thought it was a normal landing, but then it hit the water, with a big splash. We were a mile away. We caught up and they were there in the water. They looked OK."
Lambert De Monte, 16, Sebastian's stepson, said of the family "They were real calm. They didn't look scared or injured. They thanked us but didn't say too much. . . . We knew we had to do something quick."
One witness, who identified herself only as Renee, 26, of midtown Manhattan, was eating brunch at The Boat Basin, a restaurant, with a friend when she saw the helicopter go down.
"It wasn't an explosion, it was more of a big splash. We heard a loud sound and saw it land in the water," she said. "They looked fine. . . . They were wearing life vests."
The pilot refused medical attention and while the family was taken to St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan for observation, they walked to the ambulance.