The pilot, who only suffered a hand injury, deployed the helicopter's flotation equipment and was picked up by a passing boat shortly after the helicopter hit the water, Hughes added. There were no injuries, and the pilot, who is believed to have been the only person on board, was safely rescued.
The aircraft came down quickly, but it was not in freefall - its blades were rotating. "The pilot was not injured and immediately exited the aircraft", Blade said.
Video footage from hovering TV news helicopters taken in the aftermath of the crash showed the helicopter capsized and mostly beneath the water.
An FDNY spokesperson confirmed the crash happened just before 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, in the area of 12th Avenue and 34th Street.
The friends thought it might be a stunt.
"It was the craziest thing I've ever seen", Byrd said.
His reaction: "Just shock".
The helicopter was a Bell 206, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters said.
"About 30 minutes ago, a helicopter made a safe emergency landing on floats in the Hudson River near the heliport".
The plane was reportedly operated by Zip Aviation, a commuter chopper service which shuttles between Manhattan and local airports.
According the helicopter's operator, the chopper was re-positioning and was not on a flight at the time.
The aircraft has since been transported to land as the National Transportation Safety Board looks further into what caused the emergency landing, the NYPD Special Ops team reports on Twitter.