NY Waterway crew rescue helicopter pilot from Hudson River crash

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WEEHAWKEN -

The crew of a New York Waterway ferry helped rescue a helicopter pilot from a crash landing in the Hudson River.

The helicopter crashed around 2:30 p.m. Wednesdays after officials say that the pilot missed a landing on the helipad on the New York side of the river.

The crew “Gov. Tom Kean” ferry saw the crash happen and started to head over to see if they could help.

“We went over as fast as we could and brought the boat back to full throttle and slowly went in,” says ferry pilot Adam Sciaino.

RELATED: Pilot escapes nearly unscathed after Hudson River helicopter plunge 

The crew saw that the pilot was still in the helicopter and they were able to get a ladder down to him.

“We just approached the guy very slow because we didn't want to create a wake for the helicopter guy,” says deckhand Edwin Montoya. “We kept talking to the guy…I asked him many times if he was OK…The guy looked in pretty good shape, a little nervous, but he was OK.”

“He grabbed on. I saw his head and he came right up on the bow of the boat,” Sciaino says.

The crew says that they had to work together because as the ferry got closer to the helicopter in the water, Sciaino was unable to see it due to the ferry blocking his view.

The helicopter pilot, identified as 35-year-old Eric Rodriguez, suffered a hand injury but is expected to be OK. An employee of the helipad was hurt by debris but is also expected to be OK.

Sciaino tells News 12 New Jersey that this is his second rescue in 10 years with New York Waterway. Montoya says that he also participated in a rescue years ago.

New York Waterway crew members have rescued almost 300 people in 32 years – including 143 people rescued when U.S. Airways Flight 1549 crashed into the Hudson River. “The Miracle on the Hudson” is considered to be the most successful marine rescue in aviation history.

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