5 Dead After Helicopter Crashes Into NYC River While Pilot Escapes

The pilot, the sole survivor, was spotted on a floating device yelling for help.

A pilot was the sole survivor of a deadly helicopter crash on Sunday evening. All five passengers aboard a private charter perished as the helicopter crashed into New York City’s East River, not far from Roosevelt Island.

Videos taken by a witnesses shows the helicopter’s rotors slapping at the water as it lands hard on the river. The Federal Aviation Administration announced in a tweet that the accident happened around 7 p.m.

"It took awhile for the divers to get these people out. They worked very quickly as fast as they could,"  Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro, said according to The Associated Press. "It was a great tragedy that we had here."

All passengers were “tightly harnessed” and needed to be cut out of the copter.  Two of the five passengers were pronounced dead at the scene and the other three were hospitalized in critical condition before succumbing to their injuries. At a news conference, Nigro announced that the pilot is “okay.” The pilot was seen screaming for help from a floatation device after the crash, witnesses told a NY1 reporter.

“For about a minute and a half no one came out of the water,” Brianna Jesme said. “Then we saw one guy climb onto the raft and he was yelling for help.”

Names of the victims and the pilot have not yet been released. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

The red helicopter was hired for a photo shoot, according to The Associated Press. It is owned by Liberty Helicopters, based in New Jersey, a company that advertises itself on its website as the “largest and most experienced helicopter sightseeing and charter service in the Northeast.”

[Photo: Twitter / @JJMagers]

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