New York City police and fire officials say the pilot of a helicopter that crash landed in the Hudson River escaped with just a minor hand injury.

At a news conference Wednesday, authorities said the 34-year-old pilot had just taken off from a Manhattan helipad after refueling when he suddenly felt the aircraft drop.

He was able to steer it into the water about 150 feet from the waterside helipad and then scramble on to the aircraft's inflatable pontoons.

Nobody else was aboard. A dockworker trying to get out of the way of the descending aircraft slipped and injured his wrist.

Video of the 2:30 p.m. crash landing showed the aircraft wobbling and then spinning as it dropped into the water.

A marine crane hauled the helicopter out of the water about 4 p.m. (AP)