Helicopter crash into the East River

October 4, 2011 2:29:35 PM PDT
Helicopter down in the East River.

That's all we heard from our managing editor. And then the newsroom - prepping for our 4, 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts, jumped into action. We got Newscopter 7 up, and reporters started heading to the scene at East 34th Street and the East River.

I went on the air - with just the basics - but as it all unfolded it became clear this was a terrible helicopter crash. A Bell 206 - used for both business and tourism - crashed apparently after takeoff, got up about 20 or so feet, and then went down. Hard. And submerged quickly.

Five people were on board, including the pilot, and 4 of them were pulled out. The pilot seems to be ok - but 3 passengers are now in the hospital - two of them in critical condition, the other in serious condition. One is a man - from Portugal. The other two are women, with the same last name, and believed to be from the United Kingdom.

One woman was missing for the better part of an hour - and about 90 minutes after the crash, she was pulled out of the water, dead.

One note about the pilot - He is Paul Dudley, a veteran pilot and the manager of the airport in Linden, New Jersey. That's also where Newscopter 7 is based, and Shannon Sohn, our reporter in the air, knows him and speaks highly of him. He was also involved in another plane incident - in 2006, a Cessna making an emergency landing near Coney Island.

He walked away from that as well.

Today's horrible crash, the dramatic rescue - we'll have the entire story, tonight at 11.

We're also following the Chris Christie story today, and his saying that this time he means it - he's absolutely positively no-question-about-it not running for President.

It would have been an interesting battle next year - Chris Christie versus Barack Obama. But the New Jersey Governor - a smart guy who likes to shoot from the hip even if he says something he might later regrets (but rarely admits he does) - didn't have to analyze the field too much to realize that the battle with Pres. Obama would have been a cake walk compared to the battle winning over his fellow Republicans.

Polls showed about the same number of GOP'ers wanted Gov. Christie to stay out of the race as wanted him to jump in.

And with the extreme political edges of the party flexing disproportionate muscle, the relatively moderate Christie faced a grueling challenge. Not only would the more conservative Republicans try to derail Mr. Christie, but he also faced an uphill battle for organizing and funding a national campaign. Just yesterday, the number of states holding Republican Presidential primaries in January went up - now a handful, which means the Governor should have hit the ground running weeks ago.

It's not my time, he said, and then bowed out from a race he insisted he never really considered entering.

There's no question Mr. Christie has a nasty streak - and he's played off it several times, usually to his advantage. But even he must have been - what's the word? - freaked a bit by the nastiness that has overtaken some of the country these days. And, by extension, overtaken the current race for President.

Leave it to a songwriter's words to prove that point. But this time it wasn't a song's lyrics but the rantings of one Hank Williams Jr., a talented songwriter who you have to think edits his music more carefully than he edits his thoughts. At least on national TV.

Yesterday he got ticked off that a Republican Speaker of the House and a Democratic President would go golfing together. They're enemies, he said, reflecting a Tea Party kind of sentiment rather than the more optimistic viewpoint that two leaders of the two parties might be able to talk about the nation's economic crisis.

Williams observed that Barack Obama and John Boehner playing golf together was like - his words - Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu.


There are some who wonder why golf is the preferred sport of politicians during a recession - it may not be the best P.R. for these elected peeps. And Mr. Williams addressed that too. But his comments reflected a political strain that views the President as the "enemy " - that was Williams' word - and that's just plain pathetic. And sad.

ESPN pulled Williams' famous song from its Monday Night Football last night.

Tonight at 11, we'll have the latest on the race for President.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports.

I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.


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