NEW YORK — A seaplane made a hard landing in New York’s East River on Friday and passengers including TV producer Bill Lawrence, the creator of “Scrubs” and other shows, were rescued.
The plane went down near Manhattan’s east side shortly after 5:30 p.m.
The Fire Department says 10 people were on board. All of them declined medical attention.
Ephrain Diaz was fishing in the East River and saw the plane go down.
“When the propeller hit the water, you heard all the water splashing, all over the place,” said Diaz, who said he then called 911. He said other boats quickly responded as the plane drifted northward.
Carter Craft was on a boat after finishing up an environmental project when the seaplane made a hard landing and one of its pontoons broke.
He said he saw the plane approach from the south, come in to land in choppy water and then come to a “dead stop.”
“I knew something was wrong when it was stalled there in the water,” Craft said. “I could see it was completely stopped and there were a lot of people out on the wing and one of the pontoons that didn’t break off.”
He was traveling on a former U.S. Navy police boat and rushed to the fallen seaplane. He said the passengers all had life vests on and he asked if they needed a ride.
Craft said the travelers’ spirits were high despite the hard landing.
“One guy said, ‘Are you going to the Hamptons?’ And I said, ‘Not that far, sorry, but I can take you to 23rd Street.'”
He said he asked the captain if anybody needed to be rushed to the hospital but the captain said that “everybody appears to be OK.”
Craft said police and fire boats arrived shortly after.
The plane was operated by Tailwind Air LLC. Michael Siegel, the executive vice president of Tailwind, said all the passengers and crew members were evacuated safely and the seaplane was towed to a nearby dock.
Manhattan resident Leroy Farmer said he was watching as the seaplane’s left pontoon seemed to hit a wave.
“It went into the water and never came back up,” Farmer said. But then the propeller blades began to hit the water, and the plane got caught in the river current, he said.
He didn’t hear yells for help or see anyone come out of the plane. “It looked like (the pilot) had everything under control, from here,” Farmer said.
Lawrence, whose work also includes “Spin City” and “Cougar Town” in addition to “Scrubs,” posted photos and a video of himself aboard the plane on social media.
Lawrence joked in one tweet, “Going to drink tequila continuously. #Lucky.”
Associated Press writer Karen Matthews contributed to this report.
This story has been corrected to say that 10 people were on board, not seven as the Fire Department originally said.