WNBC Chopper 4 crashes in Brooklyn, crew survives

WNBC-TV’s Chopper 4 crashed last night while covering a shooting in Brooklyn, NY.

A reporter, pilot and trainee are in stable condition after their helicopter crashed into a building while covering a shooting in Brooklyn, NY. Photo courtesy of WABC-TV. Click on the photos to see an enlarged image.

The reporter, pilot and pilot trainee onboard survived the crash and were taken to area hospitals. They were reportedly in stable condition Tuesday night.

The crash occurred at about 6:20 p.m. as the crew was preparing for a live report from the scene of a shooting in East Flatbush. Before the cut-in, Chopper 4 appeared to begin a steep nosedive.

Pilot Russ Cowry was able to recover from the dive and level off the helicopter for a brief moment. However, Chopper 4’s nose raised and the aircraft spun to its left. It continued a slow series of leftward spins with the nose at one point rising to about 60 degrees from the level before continuing its downward spiral.

Chopper 4 began to roll and hit a four-story residential building, breaking off its tail boom. Somehow, the passenger compartment continued the roll and crashed right side up on the roof of an adjacent building.

Reporter Andrew Torres and pilot trainee Hassan Taan were able to extract themselves from the compartment. Fire crews pulled Mowry from the wreckage. No one on the ground was injured.

Chopper 4 belongs to Helinet Aviation Services in Van Nuys, CA, and the three-member crew onboard Chopper 4 are employees of Helinet.

The National Transportation and Safety Board has begun an investigation into the cause of the crash.

This morning workers used a crane to remove the wreckage from the top of the building.

A WABC-TV news crew covering last night’s shooting captured footage of the crash from NewsCopter 7.

To watch WABC-TV’s footage of the crash, please visit: http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/news/wabc_050504_copter4.html and www.wnbc.com.

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