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PR- 348-11
October 4, 2011


The following are Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s remarks as delivered today at 34th Street and the FDR Drive

"Good afternoon. I'm here with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano, Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joe Bruno, Dan Garodnick, the City Councilman from this district, First Deputy Mayor Patti Harris, and Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway.

"About 3:30 this afternoon, a privately-owned helicopter with five people on board, including the pilot, crashed into the East River just after taking off from the 34th Street Heliport here on Manhattan's East Side. It is a terrible accident that has left one person dead, one in very serious condition, and two more in critical condition. Our understanding is that all of the passengers were visiting our city from outside the country, and that the pilot came from Linden, New Jersey - or at least the helicopter that he was flying came from Linden, New Jersey.

"We pride ourselves on being the most welcoming city in the world, and we are, and to have a family come here to see and experience the best of our city and end up in a tragic accident like this just breaks your heart. Our thoughts and prayers are with them all and their families, and we are hoping that the three people in the hospital will pull through.

"From what we know so far, the pilot reported having trouble keeping aloft, and he tried to turn back but crashed into the water just north of the landing pad. There was a very quick response by NYPD and FDNY. NYPD emergency service officers and Office of Emergency Management personnel who were in the immediate vicinity drove onto the landing pad and saw the helicopter inverted in the water with only its skids showing on the surface.

"The police officers dove into the water and rescued three of the four passengers. Their status, as I said before, one very critical and two serious. One young woman I'm sorry to say did not make it. She was gotten out later on by the Fire Department from the helicopter and her body was recovered as roughly at 4:40 this afternoon. The pilot was rescued very quickly and brought ashore.

"We're not going to be making any passengers' names public until the families have been notified, but it is our understanding that the passengers knew the pilot. They were all friends.

"The City has already begun what will be a full investigation into how this happened - but right now, again, our thoughts and prayers are with those who were in the accident and their families. And the bottom line is we don't really have any details on what happened. The National Transportation Safety Board is a Federal agency that investigates all airplane and helicopter accidents. They are here, and they will release data when they get it.

"The bottom line is the helicopter went in and we have no idea whether it was mechanical, whether it was an accident caused by human error, or anything else. The passengers apparently- a couple were Brits that lived in Portugal we think, and two had lived in Australia. One may have been British, but it's not clear whether they were both Australian or not. Other than that we really have nothing else that we can tell."


Stu Loeser/Marc La Vorgna   (212) 788-2958


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