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Fontainebleau Owner Back In Miami After Helicopter Crash

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MIAMI - MARCH 14: Jeffery Soffer attends the Russell Simmons Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation Art For Life at Fontainebleau Hilton on March 14, 2009 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Rush Philanthropic Arts)

MIAMI – MARCH 14: Jeffery Soffer attends the Russell Simmons Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation Art For Life at Fontainebleau Hilton on March 14, 2009 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Rush Philanthropic Arts)

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NASSAU, Bahamas (CBSMiami/AP) – Jeffrey Soffer, the principal of real estate developer Turnberry Associates, which owns a number of properties including the famed Fontainebleau Miami Beach, was one of four Americans to survive a helicopter crash at an upscale resort in the Bahamas on Thanksgiving.

Livingston Marshall, spokesman for the exclusive Baker’s Bay Golf & Ocean Club on Great Guana Cay, said the pilot, who was also American, died in the crash.

“The four surviving passengers were evacuated from Baker’s Bay and are currently receiving medical attention,” Marshall said. He added that he had no information on their conditions and didn’t say where they were taken.

Soffer, who reportedly walked off the helicopter with a couple of bruises, was flown back to South Florida by airplane and taken to the University of Miami Hospital, where he was being evaluated, according to CBS4 new partner The Miami Herald.

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

An employee of the resort community, who described the crash as a “nightmare,” said he helped residents pull people out of the wreckage.

“They got into an air pocket and it went into a tailspin. 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,” said the Baker’s Bay employee, who insisted on not being quoted by name because he wasn’t authorized to speak with journalists.

Baker’s Bay is a playground for millionaires located about 150 miles off Florida’s eastern coast. It includes an oceanfront golf course, a private family beach club and boutique shops.

There were roughly 180 people on the island property for Thanksgiving festivities, the resort employee said.

Marshall said the Baker’s Bay community was “shocked and saddened by this tragedy occurring on a day that symbolizes family and togetherness.”

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald and the Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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