(Jen Chung) Everyone is marveling at the emergency landing that a helicopter pilot made in the Hudson River yesterday. FDNY Deputy Chief Thomas McKavanagh noted how the passengers, a family of four Swedish tourists, felt the landing was like the impact of a 10-meter jump, "The pilot did a terrific job, considering he lost engine power" and NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said, "They didn't even get wet." But humble pilot Michael Campbell says, "I was just doing my job. I did what I had to do."
Campbell, who works for New York Helicopter, had departed the Wall Street heliport when he experienced the engine trouble 12 minutes after takeoff. He made the decision to land the chopper in the Hudson River on the Upper West Side. Witness Stefan Capan, who was sitting just north of the West 79th Street Boat Basin, told us, "I saw the helicopter approaching north, going very fast and losing altitude very quickly." He noted how the pilot edged the nose up and then two yellow pontoons deployed off the runners. Capan, who thought those were flames and freaked out, called 911 and immediately patched through to the Coast Guard.