Only minor injuries were reported this afternoon after a Bell 206L4 operated by Zip Aviation crashed into New York City’s Hudson River on a repositioning flight from the West 30th Street heliport. The 34-year-old pilot, the only person on board, escaped with an injury to his left hand. A dock worker at the heliport slipped and injured his right wrist while trying to evacuate the area as the distressed helicopter approached.
The New York Police Department said the helicopter had just refueled at West 30th and was departing for an unknown location when the accident occurred at approximately 2:30 p.m. local time off 34th Street on the New York side of the river close to the heliport. First responders were on scene within three minutes, but by then, the pilot was already safely on shore. New York Fire Department divers entered the water to inspect the helicopter for additional occupants and planned to remove the fuel from the aircraft later today before surrendering the wreckage to the NTSB.
Multiple video sources show the pilot slowly orbiting over the water off the heliport before the helicopter entered a low altitude spin. The pilot appeared to attempt to arrest the spin by lowering the helicopter’s nose and then deploying the emergency pop-out floats and leveling off shortly before impacting the water at an accelerated rate. Shortly thereafter it rolled inverted in the water.