Hudson River helicopter

A helicopter rests on pontoons at the 79th Street Boat Basin in New York after an emergency landing on the Hudson River. (John Minchillo / Associated Press / June 30, 2013)

It's not every day something crash-lands on the Hudson River, as a tourist helicopter did Sunday.

Officials said a family of four Swedish tourists and their pilot were safe after the private helicopter in which they were riding apparently lost power and the pilot landed on the Hudson River near Manhattan's West Side.

The odd image of a helicopter floating in the Hudson -- floating on inflatable pontoons -- brought back memories of the near-miraculous crash-landing of an Airbus A320 by U.S. Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger on Jan. 15, 2009, which saved the lives of 150 passengers and five crew members who then had to be rescued from the water.

This time, another family of tourists helped rescue their fellow tourists with their boat, according to one local news report.

"It was fast. At first we thought it was a normal landing but then it hit the water, with a big splash," Sebastian Berthelet, 38, who was visiting from Montreal and sailing on the Hudson, told AM New York. "We were a mile away. We caught up, and they were there, in the water. They looked OK."

His son Lambert De Monte, 16, told AM New York that the chopper passengers "were real calm. They didn't look scared or injured. They thanked us but didn't say too much. ... We knew we had to do something quick."

The survivors, and the chopper, were shortly ferried to shore.

"The pilot did a terrific job, considering he'd lost his engine power and landed his ship safely," New York Fire Department Deputy Chief Thomas McKavanagh told NY1-TV.

Local witnesses, residents and reporters tweeted photos and their reactions to the scene.


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