Brooklyn, NY Helicopter And Plane Crash, Jul 1983


New York (AP) - A police helicopter and a seaplane collided in cloudless skies over Brooklyn Friday, hurtling the chopper through the roof of a vacant building and the plane into New York Harbor. Two police officers were killed and two people aboard the plane were presumed drowned.
Two others on the commuter plane, a man and woman on the way to their jobs with Wall Street firms, kicked open the emergency exit in the plane and were rescued. They were hospitalized in stable condition.
Divers tried to locate and raise the plane wreckage thought to contain the pilot and another passenger. It sank in 45-foot-deep waters between Governors Island and Brooklyn, off the tip of Manhattan.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators went to the scene to determine the accident's cause. Police said it was only the second helicopter crash in the department's history; two officers died in a 1970 accident.
"I looked up, and I saw metal falling from the sky," said Orazio Scala, who watched the two aircraft collide when he left his shop in Brooklyn.
Police Chief Patrick Murphy sand the helicopter was on routine traffic patrol when the accident occurred. The Waterfront Airways plane had left Hyland, N.J. at 8:15 a.m. and was coming in for a landing on the East River off Wall Street according to Murphy.
Jorge Martinez, 28, was looking west out his fourth floor window when he saw the seaplane and the blue copter collide.
He said the two aircraft moved rapidly toward the oceanfront but the copter got no farther that the building across the building across the street from Martinez, a vacant, one-story commercial building.
"The helicopter went through the top of that building in a shot, and the blades never stopped turning," he said.
Martinez ran to the warehouse and discovered the two dead officers - JAMES ROWLEY, 39, of Nassau County, a married 17-year veteran, and CHARLES J. TROJAHN, 27, of Suffolk County, a member of the force for just one year who was unmarried.
No one on the ground was injured in the crash.

St. Cloud Times Minnesota 1983-07-23