NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There was a thumbs up Wednesday night from the crew members who were aboard a malfunctioning NYPD helicopter that crash landed into Jamaica Bay earlier in the day.
LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reports
Police commissioner Ray Kelly said the crew on board was providing security for President Barack Obama’s arrival at the United Nations.
“We’re lucky. We’re fortunate, you know?” Kelly told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey. “The pilot stated as she was coming in for a landing to refuel, she heard a loud bang and then lost altitude rapidly and landed on the water.”
That’s no easy feat. With only seconds to spare, the veteran pilot kept her cool, deploying flotation devices enabling the crippled craft to land upright.
All six NYPD officers aboard escaped serious injuries and were taken to a nearby hospital to be checked out.
“Obviously they feel fortunate. This could have been much worse. But they’re pros. They reacted like pros,” Kelly said.
Despite back and neck injuries, they walked out of the hospital all smiles.
“Just happy we walked out of it,” NYPD scuba diver Mike Casali said, who later added he was very proud of how the pilot reacted.
The helicopter involved is a brand new twin-engine Bell 412 — put into service this past December.
The helicopter was expected to be taken to a nearby hangar, where investigators will pour through it to find the mechanical failure. In the meantime, the National Transportation Safety Board will have final determination for the cause of Wednesday’s scare in the air.