A NY Waterway ferry crew picked up a pilot after a helicopter crash in the Hudson River Wednesday, the latest in a long line of rescues for the cross-river commuter service.

The ferry Gov. Thomas Kean was passing close by when the helicopter operated by Zip Aviation lost altitude and fell into the river after refueling at the West 30rd Street heliport around 1:20 p.m.

NY Waterway deckhand Edwin Montoya prepares to pick up the helicopter pilot. NY Waterway photo

NY Waterway deckhand Edwin Montoya prepares to pick up the helicopter pilot. NY Waterway photo

Capt. Adam Schiano pointed his ferry toward the scene, as deckhand Edwin Montoya prepared to deploy the vessel’s Jason’s Cradle rescue device off the bow. The pilot, who had a hand injury but was otherwise unscathed, safely got off the overturned aircraft and Montoya pulled him on board.

“It was just instinct. Just another day for NY Waterway rescues,” said Schiano, for whom it was his second save in 10 years. “We’re right here. Edwin Montoya is an outstanding deckhand. He moved instantly to the rescue.”

Fire officials said there were only minor injuries to pilot Eric Morales and a heliport employee as he moved to avoid flying debris.

The helicopter was secured at the scene, and removed by the Corps of Engineers vessel Hayward.

In its 32 years of operation NY Waterway’s crews have rescued almost 300 people from the waters of New York Harbor, including 143 people rescued from U.S. Airways Flight 1549 in 2010 – remembered as the “miracle on the Hudson,” when pilots of the U.S. Airways A320 ditched in the Hudson after a bird strike, in what was the most successful marine rescue in aviation history.

Contributing Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been an editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for over 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.