Woman Killed As Helicopter Slams into New York’s East River
40-year-old Sonia Marra Nicholson was killed after the aircraft she was traveling in plunged into Manhattan’s East River on Tuesday. Moments after taking off from a heliport on 34th Street, just south of the United Nations building, the Bell 206 copter slammed into the inky river.
New York City’s Rescue workers pulled the pilot, Paul Dudley, director of Linden Airport in New Jersey and three passengers - Helen Tomaski, and Nicholson’s parents, Harriet and Paul - from the violent water, while Sonia Marra Nicholson was pronounced dead at the scene.
The privately-owned chopper sank rapidly after hitting the frigid, murky river just feet away from the helipad. Within minutes, over a dozen boats along with divers and emergency crews using buoys, flotation devices and ladders descended on the scene in an aggressive rescue effort.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it would investigate the cause of the crash, which occurred just before 3:30 p.m. local time. All four adult passengers were tourists.
A spokesman for the Foreign Office confirmed three British nationals were involved in the crash and that one had died. Next of kin have been informed, he added.
According to NYPD, two female passengers among the survivors are in critical condition and two males are in stable condition.
Mayor Bloomberg stated in a news conference: "Apparently four or five people got out of the helicopter on their own. "It was inverted upside down when some of the people were rescued and some of the passengers who got out were holding on to the skids."
Witnesses said the private helicopter was sputtering and appeared to be in mechanical distress before coming down. Weather conditions were clear with a light wind at the time of the crash.
In 2006, Dudley piloted a Cessna that made an emergency landing in a Brooklyn park after an engine failure.