Private - WNBC Wednesday October 22, 1986
The helicopter was contracted by NBC to make daily highway traffic observations in the New York City area. The pilot and passenger, Jane Dornacker, a NBC radio traffic reporter, were flying in a northerly direction along manhattan's west side at an altitude of about 75 feet. Witnesses observed the aircraft's main rotor blades stop, the aircraft descended rapidly, struck the top of a chain link fence at a river pier, crashed into the HudsonRiver and sank in 15 to 20 feet of water. Investigation revealed the sprag clutch was inadequately lubricated, had 'rolled over' in the opposite direction of its design and the sprag assembly was damaged. Several sprags and both activating springs were broken and different size sprags were installed. An unauthorized, overhauled clutch had been installed in the aircraft. Dornacker had survived another helicopter crash earlier in the year.