October 22, 1986
New York, NY
Enstrom F-28F helicopter
While on the air conducting a traffic report, Dornacker's helicopter crashed from a height of 75 feet into a fence and fell into the Hudson River. She died on the way to the hospital. This was her second crash that year. Maintenance error. The clutch that was installed in the helicopter was a military surplus part which was not intended for use in a civil aircraft. 1 of 2 aboard killed.
Joey Reynolds: "Okay, here's Jane Dornacker now in the N-Copter"
Dornacker: "Thank you very much, Joey. There was indeed an accident southbound on the Major Deegan at the Mosholu Parkway, an accident, a serious accident involving a tractor trailer and a car. It has been pushed off to the shoulder, but now watch out there now, because another flatbed truck is going to have to come to clear it, so yield right-of-way. Northbound on the BQE, we've spotted that disabled vehicle in the right-hand lane before the Kosciuszko, not causing much of a backup, but further northbound there on the BQE, traffic is very heavy, past the Kosciuszko all the way over to the LIE. The outbound Holland Tunnel extra-heavy for you right now; earlier there was a car fire at Hudson and Canal Street. It has been cleared out, except heading to New Jersey, the outbound Lincoln Tunnel looks a lot better for you. In New Jersey...
(helicopter engine overspeed)
Hit the water! Hit the water! Hit the water!
(Brief static followed by five seconds of dead air)
Reynolds: Okay, we're gonna play some, uh, some music here I think. Find out what's going on with the helicopter. Something happened there. It's, uh, quarter of 5; 16 'til 5 on WNBC, on the Joey Reynolds show. We're taking an N-Copter report from Jane Dornacker; let's check in and see how they're doing there, and then we'll come right back at you.
(Hip to Be Square plays)
Reynolds: I hope nothing happened with Jane. We had, uh, a helicopter report, from the N-Copter. Of course, you know, once before, we had this happen. A few months ago, she went down in the, uh, in the drink. Not she, I mean, she has a... pilot. Jane is, uh...
Other voice: Well, until we find out what's going on, we'll just...
Reynolds: Jane was up there just now giving us a report, and sometimes it just gets cut off, too, you know. It's just an electronic thing. But, uh, this time she said, uh, "hit the water," or something like that. So we're going to find out what's going on there, so stay tuned. We hope nothing... say a little prayer, hope nothing's, nothing's wrong. That's really a... (deep breath) that's a hard, hard job.
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