Helicopter carrying WWE executive Shane McMahon makes emergency ocean landing

Posted at 3:20 PM, Jul 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-19 20:15:09-04

The son of World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Vince McMahon was rescued Wednesday from a helicopter that made an emergency landing in the ocean near a New York beach.

Shane McMahon, also a WWE executive, was the passenger in the Robinson R 44 helicopter that set down in lightly rolling waves near Long Island's Gilgo Beach late Wednesday morning.

Neither he nor the pilot, Mario Regtien, was hurt.

The red aircraft could be seen bobbing on bright yellow pontoons, deployed by the pilot as the helicopter descended, as small boats circled about a half-mile south of the beach.

Speaking to reporters afterward, McMahon said he heard a "bang" and Regtien told him they would be doing an emergency landing in the water.

"It was very unnerving," McMahon said. But, he added, "Mario was super calm, which made me super calm, and we landed perfectly."

He later expressed his thanks to the pilot and emergency responders and tweeted: "I'd like to thank the man upstairs for looking out this morning."

Two lifeguards told Newsday they were the first to reach the helicopter. They said they had the men get into kayaks and row toward shore, and were met by law enforcement rescuers along the way who took the men to shore.

One of them, Zak Viverito, said, "Everyone worked really well together."

Shane McMahon is the on-screen commissioner of WWE's Smackdown Live show, which airs Tuesday nights on the USA Network. His mother is Linda McMahon, who heads the Small Business Administration in President Donald Trump's administration. 

The Federal Aviation Administration said the helicopter had taken off from Westchester County Airport in White Plains, made a stop at a heliport in Manhattan, then was flying east along the Long Island coast when the incident occurred.

The pilot issued a mayday call before going into the water, and a commercial flight heading to Kennedy International Airport heard it and relayed it to FAA controllers at a radar facility.

It was not yet clear what went wrong.