2005_06_helicrasheast.jpgAuthorities may take up to six months to investigate the cause of yesterday's helicopter crash into the East River. Luckily, all seven of the passengers were rescued, with one passenger, Karen Butler, put into a medically-induced coma since she ingested jet fuel and East River water (she is expected to survive). Yossi Ben-Bassat, the pilot, had jumped back into the water to rescue Butler when he realized she wasn't standing on the overturned helicopter as the other passengers; he told the Post, "I did what I had to do. I took the girl out by the hair. I couldn't just leave her in the water." Some authorities think that the heat and humidity prevented the helicopter from getting the liftoff it needed - who knew? The passengers, all tourists, and pilot were lucky that three police boats were in the area, making a quick rescue possible. The Mayor surveyed the wreck and said, "We'll have some tourists who will have stories to tell when they get home. We're just grateful that they're all okay." Nice to put a positive spin on things, Bloomby.

The Daily News has a list of area helicopter crashes in the past twenty years; two others have been fatal crashes in the East River. And the NY Times has a graphic of the crash scene.

Photograph from the AP