News: Jeffrey Soffer Escapes Helicopter Deadly Crash

Jeffrey Soffer, owner of the Fontainebleau Hotel,  was involved in a deadly helicopter crash yesterday. A wealthy New York businessman was killed instantly.

A resort employee told The Associated Press that at the time of the accident there were over 180 people at the Baker’s Bay Golf & Ocean Club in the Bahamas for the Thanksgiving festivities, which is located roughly 150 miles off the Florida coast. The wind wreaked havoc with the helicopter, according to witnesses.

 The helicopter went into a tailspin as it was caught in sudden wind while attempting to land. Soffer, 43, was among five people in the chopper that escaped with injuries.

Renardo Curry, Parliament member for North Abaco, said the helicopter was attempting to land at the Club when a wind gust sent the aircraft spiraling.

An employee of the resort community said that he helped residents pull people out of the wreckage. He described the crash as a ‘nightmare.’

“They got into an air pocket and went into a tailspin,” he told the AP. “It recovered, and then it went into a tailspin again, and from there it hit the ground. The tail came off, and the cabin just went into a spin, and somebody got thrown out.”

Soffer was on Miami Beach, Wednesday night at the Fontainebleau’s nightclub Liv and he and a few friends boarded the helicopter to the Bahamas on Thursday, Thanksgiving day. The copter  crashed at 1:30 p.m. as it approached the helipad at Baker’s Bay, an enclave for millionaires, on Great Guana Cay, Abaco.

The co-pilot, an American businessman, died at the scene, while Soffer is said to have suffered bruises. Soffer’s girlfriend and a work colleague, suffered unspecified injuries.

‘Everyone who was there in one way or another helped out,’ said Curry.

A rep for the Royal Bahamas Police last night declined to confirm the identity of the deceased until next of kin were informed.

According to the New York Post, Roger Penske, owner of the Penske Racing team and the Penske Corp., was in the Bahamas and flew Soffer back to Miami for treatment. Police say others were taken to the hospital in New Providence, Nassau, and Ryder Trauma Center in Miami

Soffer’s company, Turnberry Associates, bought the Fontainebleau in 2007 and put it through a huge renovation. He dated Elle Macpherson for more than two years, but the pair separated in March.

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