Two dead over chopper crash in New York City's East River

Police official says helicopter earlier this evening descended into the East River near East 90 St


RUTERS March 12, 2018
PHOTO: FILE

NEW YORK: A helicopter carrying six people crashed in New York City's East River on Sunday, killing at least two, and emergency divers were in the water around the partially submerged aircraft, according to officials.

Eric Phillips, a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, said in a post on Twitter there was "at least one survivor, at least two fatalities.

Divers are still in the water." New York Police said three people were hospitalized. The Federal Aviation Administration said the Eurocopter AS350 went down near the northern end of Roosevelt Island at about 7 pm and was reported to be upside-down in the water.

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The agency said it was investigating. The National Transportation Safety Board said its investigative team would arrive on Monday.

A Reuters photographer witnessed three people recovered by rescue divers being wheeled on stretchers onto a midtown pier shortly before 9 pm Emergency personnel attempted to resuscitate them, but their condition was not clear.

Officials would not provide further details. The US Coast Guard said six people were on the helicopter.

The Coast Guard launched three boats to aid in the response, joining New York City emergency responders.

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The Coast Guard said, "Five people have been recovered by New York City Police Department and the New York City Fire Department divers and their conditions are currently unknown."

"It kind of hit sideways and just flipped over," Brianna Jesme, 22, an Upper East Side resident who witnessed the crash, told Reuters TV.

A federal official said the aircraft appeared to be a sight-seeing helicopter. Video of the incident filmed by an onlooker and posted on Twitter showed a red helicopter descending toward the water at dusk, then landing with a large splash before tipping onto its right side, its tail lights still flashing.

Reuters could not immediately verify the authenticity of the footage.

The New York City Fire Department tweeted that its members were with police at the location near 91st Street in Manhattan. New York police and fire officials planned to brief reporters later on Sunday.

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