Five dead in New York City helicopter crash

Five people have been killed when a helicopter crashed into the East River of New York City on Sunday evening 

Members of the New York Fire Department at the East River after the helicopter crashed (Photo: NY Times)
Members of the New York Fire Department at the East River after the helicopter crashed (Photo: NY Times)

Five people have died when a helicopter crashed into the East River of New York City on Sunday evening, police say.

The red helicopter carrying six people zoomed over the East River, flying along a popular route for sightseers who want the view of the Manhattan skyline. However, something appeared wrong with its path on Sunday.

It was flying too fast and descended too quickly, witnesses said.

Divers worked desperately to pull the five passengers from the helicopter but two of them died at the scene, while the other three died in hospital.

The pilot managed to free himself and was rescued by a passing tugboat.

The helicopter,had been chartered for a photo shoot, crashed near Roosevelt Island, according to police.

Police commissioner James O'Neill told reporters it had been privately leased by a group of photographers.

At a press conference, New York Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro called it a "great tragedy".

"We are told the five people were all tied tightly in harnesses that had to be cut and removed," he said.

"It took a while for the divers to get these people out. They worked very quickly, as fast as they could. That's 50ft [15m] of water there."

The divers had to work against currents and water temperatures of below 4C, he added.

The Federal Aviation Authority said it was investigating the incident.

The National Transportation Safety Board would determine the cause, it added.

 

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