Hudson River crash renews helicopter safety concerns

Posted: Updated:

A crash landing of a helicopter in the Hudson River Wednesday has reignited concerns about helicopter safety along the waterfront.

Pilot Eric Morales, 35, of Mendham, survived with only minor injuries after his helicopter crashed while trying to land at a busy heliport in Manhattan.

Some residents who live along the river in towns like Hoboken and Weehawken says that the incident reminded them about the dangers of the amount of helicopter traffic in the area.

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Former Hoboken resident Brian Wagner says that he moved his family away in part because of the noise of the New York tour helicopters near his home and the fear of crashes. In the years since the move, Wagner says that he has led a fight for more helicopter restrictions.

Wagner says that he feels safer now that he has moved away from the waterfront.

“I love the silence of where I live. I hear squirrels in the trees. My dogs are happy, they’re not stressing out and hiding in the bathroom anymore whenever they hear [helicopters] pass overhead,” he says.

This was not the first helicopter crash on the Hudson River. A helicopter and a small private plane collided above the Hudson River near Hoboken 10 years ago, killing nine people.

Sen. Bob Menendez has called for more regulations on helicopter flights in the area before. The senator says in a statement, “Fortunately no one on the chopper or on the ground was hurt, but we may not be so lucky the next time. That's why we need better air traffic controls along the Hudson and especially over our populated riverfront neighborhoods in Hudson County."

The cause of Wednesday’s crash remains under investigation.

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