Broken pontoon prompts rescue of 10 people from seaplane in East River

Posted at 5:50 PM, Jul 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-21 21:46:37-04

NEW YORK — Several people are being rescued from a seaplane on the East River Friday evening.

It happened around 5:30 p.m.

FAA officials say the plane the plane went into the East River when a pontoon broke, causing the plane to lean to the left.

All 10 passengers were pulled from the aircraft near East 20th Street. No one was injured.

One of those passengers was Bill Lawrence, a comedy writer from Los Angeles. The "Scrubs" writer was able to find humor following his experience.

"The plane tried to take off a couple of times," Lawrence said. "It went up in the air a little, it came down. It went up there a little higher, it came down. He thought he had it 20 or so feet in the air, and then when it came down hard, he couldn't get up, flotation came off and detached from the wing and hit the water hard."

The Tailwind Air Service flight with 10 onboard was headed to East Hampton according to officials when it became disabled following a third attempt at takeoff. Once it was in the water on its side, it then floated aimlessly northward toward the 59th Street Bridge.

"Big jolt," Lawrence added. "You realize you're OK and then you know you have to get out of the plane quick because it's in the water, the first thing you feel really relieved, then make sure that everyone is ok and everyone is calm and nice and just really grateful that it was nothing more than a hassle."

A hassle that had FDNY Marine and NYPD Harbor units rapidly on the scene and the 10 on board were able to get off without anyone getting wet.

"It went from everyone being very scared and very supportive in helping each other, and once people realized that everyone was going to be OK, the amount of cell phones and social media that was happening both from boats passing and people sitting on the plane waiting to get picked up."

The plane was towed to East 23rd Street Seaport.

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Our sea plane. Going to go drink tequila continuously. #Lucky

A post shared by Bill Lawrence (@vdoozer) on