A history of helicopter wrecks in New York City

June 11, 2019 GMT

At least 32 people have died in helicopter accidents in New York City since 1977, when an accident on a skyscraper landing pad led the city to start putting restrictions on where choppers could land.

Helicopter flights are getting renewed scrutiny after a fatal crash into a Manhattan tower Monday.

A look at accidents over the years:

2019: A helicopter used for executive travel hits the roof of a Manhattan skyscraper in restricted airspace. The pilot is killed.

2019: A charter helicopter goes into the Hudson River and sinks while being maneuvered at a heliport. The pilot escapes.


2018: Five people drown when a charter helicopter offering “open door” flights crashes in the East River . The pilot survives.

2011: Three people die when a helicopter carrying a family outing plunges into the East River.

2009: A sightseeing helicopter carrying Italian tourists collides with a private plane over the Hudson River, killing nine.

2007: A sightseeing helicopter drops into the Hudson River after experiencing a mechanical problem after lifting off from a West Side heliport. Everyone makes it out safely.

2005: A corporate helicopter carrying MBNA Corp. executives falls into the East river after taking off from the East 34th Street heliport. The pilot is seriously injured but everyone survives.

2005: A sightseeing helicopter goes into the East River while trying to take off from the Wall Street heliport. A British tourist nearly drowns.

2004: A WNBC news helicopter hits a building in Brooklyn and disintegrates while covering a story. All occupants survive.

1997: One person is killed and a second is badly injured when a helicopter owned by the Colgate-Palmolive Company falls into the East River after taking off from the 60th Street heliport.

1990: One person dies after the pilot of an Island Helicopter air taxi misjudges the wind during a takeoff from the East 34th Street heliport and flies into the river.

1988: A passenger drowns when a sightseeing helicopter loses power and makes a forced landing in the East River.

1986: An NBC radio traffic reporter dies when the helicopter she is riding in loses lift, hits a fence and crashes into the Hudson.

1985: A passenger drowns when a sightseeing flight operated by New York Helicopters crashes into the East River after taking off from the East 34th Street heliport.


1983: A seaplane coming in for a landing on the East River collides with a police helicopter over the Brooklyn waterfront, killing four people.

1981: Hijackers seize a sightseeing helicopter and order the pilot to fly to a federal jail in Manhattan in an unsuccessful attempt to free a prisoner waiting on the roof.

1977: A rotor breaks loose from a New York Airways helicopter on a landing pad atop the Pan Am Building and kills five people, including one on the street two blocks away. The helipad closes after the accident.