Helicopter Crashes Into Pool of DreamWorks Water Park, Video Shows

A giant helicopter prop hanging from the ceiling above a water park crashed down into the children's pool below, wounding four people.

Visitors described how screaming and panic broke out as parents tried to get their children to safety at the largest indoor water park in North America.

One of those who was injured had to be hospitalized after the incident at the DreamWorks Water Park in the American Dream Mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sunday. The ages of the people who were hurt haven't yet been released by the authorities, and it remains unclear what the decorative helicopter was made from and how heavy it was.

The helicopter broke free from its moorings and hurtled into the water at around 3 p.m. local time, when the park was busy with families enjoying the weekend. Witnesses described the "chaos" that erupted after the accident and shared photos from the scene.

One visitor tweeted: "Scary time at Dreamworks water park at American Dream Mall! A large helicopter display fell on to a kiddy pool and slide area! Chaos soon after. The sound was scary then the screaming from parents and kids. We were told to evacuate soon after. Hope no one was hurt. If so miracle!"

Dreamworks Water Park
The Dreamworks Water Park attraction at American Dream, a retail and entertainment complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey. A giant helicopter prop hanging from the ceiling above a water park crashed down into the children's pool below, wounding four people. Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

Footage shared online by journalist Nick Meidanis, which appears to have been shot during the immediate aftermath, showed dozens of people gathered by the water. One man calls out across the venue, apparently trying to alert a friend or relative of his location, while a woman in the background can be seen staring at the fallen chopper with her head in her hands. Two people who appear to be staff members or life guards run past.

Meidanis tweeted: "#Breaking: Four people were injured at DreamWorks Waterpark at American Dream mall today when a helicopter prop hanging from the ceiling fell into the pool, NJ State Police said. One person is in the hospital and three were treated at the mall for minor injuries."

A spokesperson for the mall told local channel NBC News 4 that several guests had suffered minor injuries, adding: "First responders immediately administered first aid to four guests with non-life-threatening injuries."

Three of the guests were treated at the scene and left the park without needing further medical intervention, while the fourth was taken to the hospital, the official added.

Mall bosses have vowed to investigate the incident in order to establish how the prop managed to snap free. The review will "ensure the park meets all safety regulations as required," the spokesperson said.

The rest of the park's visitors were evacuated on Sunday and the park remained closed for the rest of the day. It remains unclear how long the investigation will take and when the park is next likely to open.

Newsweek has reached out to the mall for further information and comment.

Owners American Dream tweeted a brief statement saying: "DreamWorks Water Park will be closed Sunday, February 19th and Monday, February 20th. All guests who have purchased tickets for tomorrow [Monday], please check your email for more information. Please visit our website for additional updates." It did not give the reason for the park's closure.

The website also simply stated the park was closed on Sunday and Monday.

The incident comes just months after a young girl died during a suspected drowning incident at a popular Midwest water park. The child, whose age wasn't released, had been swimming in at Oceans of Fun, a water park in Kansas City, Missouri, last July.

That same month, a 32-year-old man was killed when a 43-foot sinkhole opened up at the bottom of a pool in Israel. Shocking footage of the freak accident showed how the hole sucked him down, along with all the water and floats, as his friends screamed.

Water safety has been a hot topic online recently after a mom was slammed in a parenting forum for revealing that she felt comfortable letting her four-year-old child play in a pool unattended.