By Maria Rocha-Buschel
The NYPD rescued 10 people on the East River last Friday afternoon when a sea plane took a hard landing near East 23rd Street around 5:30 p.m. Police told CBS New York that the East Hampton-bound plane tried to take off three times but failed, and the nine passengers and the plane’s pilot were evacuated by the NYPD Harbor Unit.
FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Michael Gala said at a press conference following the incident that struts supporting the left wing broke, which caused the aircraft to slant when it landed in the river.
Officials did not have further information on what caused the initial problems when the plane was attempting to take off, but Gala said that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are investigating the incident.
TV producer Bill Lawrence, creator of “Scrubs” and “Spin City,” was one of the nine passengers rescued, along with his daughter. He told the news outlets at the scene that the plane seemed to reach an altitude of about 20 feet after trying to take off twice before it came down hard onto the river following the third attempt. Lawrence didn’t film the crash itself but posted photos on Instagram and Twitter showing the cockeyed plane with a wing partially submerged in the water.
Fly Tailwind, the plane’s operator, did not respond to a request for comment.