NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Shane McMahon, the son of World Wrestling Entertainment’s Vince McMahon, was one of two people rescued Wednesday when their small helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing in the water about half a mile off Gilgo Beach in Babylon.
The Robinson R44II-type helicopter, which is registered to a company in White Plains, was en route to Westhampton when it went down around 10:30 a.m. after taking off from Westchester County Airport.
The chopper issued a Mayday call prior to going down. A commercial flight headed to John F. Kennedy Airport heard the call and relayed it to controllers.
“Everything happened so quickly, you don’t have much time to react,” McMahon told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones. “It was very unnerving.”
McMahon said he heard a bang and then his pilot told him they were going to land in the water.
As CBS2’s Emily Smith reported, as the helicopter lost power, they inflated the pontoons and made a hard landing on the ocean.
“It is very unsettling when all of a sudden you have something happen. You hear a bang and saying you are going to do an emergency landing in the water, so yes very unnerving,” he said.
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, McMahon congratulated the pilot he had hired to chopper him from Manhattan to Westhampton — for skill and calm under duress, calling a mayday above ocean waters off Gilgo beach as they lost power, before banking down into a hard landing.
“[He] was super calm, which made me super calm and we landed perfectly,” McMahon said.
The fortunate outcome was unexpected.
“We heard some noise, and it became very clear to me that I could no longer continue to fly the helicopter, so I decided to make an auto-rotational landing on the water,” Mario Regtien said.
The helicopter went down about 2,000 feet from a lifeguard stand, where two lifeguards jumped into kayaks to help before the U.S. Coast Guard arrived.
“We ran up and got kayaks and we paddled out, a short trip out there. Those guys actually handled it really well, the two gentlemen in the helicopter, actually really calm and collected,” lifeguard Zach Viverito told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan. “We put them on the kayaks and just swam along with them until the Coast Guard met us about halfway in.”
“We were just getting to work and we saw a helicopter go down pretty hard, saw a big splash,” lifeguard Don Dobbi said. “We ran up and grabbed the kayaks and paddled out to see what was going on, we knew it was out of the ordinary.”
McMahon gave a “big kudos” to the lifeguards.
“Everybody chipped in, it was great,” he said.
The helicopter could be seen floating on pontoons on the water following the emergency landing. Suffolk County police said the two men were wearing life jackets and were uninjured. They were then picked up and brought to shore by a police department Marine Bureau vessel.
When asked if they were the heroes of the day, Viverito said, “I don’t know about that.”
“That is what we are here for,” he said. “So just kind of training, get on the equipment and go right out there.”
The Coast Guard responded to remove the aircraft, police said.
The NYPD also assisted in the rescue.
“Great job by NYPD Aviation & SCUBA with assisting in the rescue of two people from a helicopter accident,” the NYPD’s Special Operations Division tweeted Wednesday.
The FAA is investigating.
Shane McMahon’s mother, Linda McMahon, is the current head of the Small Business Administration for the Trump administration and previously ran two unsuccessful campaigns for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut.