After crash landing into New York City’s East River – near Gracie Mansion, the mayoral residence – on Sunday night at around 7PM, a helicopter then flipped upside down in the cold water.
It had been hired for private charter for a photoshoot and, according to The Telegraph, after extensive rescue efforts, five of the six people on board were killed:
One person, the pilot, freed himself and was rescued by a tugboat, officials said.
The passengers were recovered by police and fire department divers, who had to remove them from tight harnesses while they were upside down, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.
“It took awhile for the drivers to get these people out. They worked very quickly as fast as they could,” Nigro said. “It was a great tragedy that we had here.”
According to witnesses standing on a nearby waterfront promenade, the helicopter was “flying noisily, then suddenly dropped into the water and quickly submerged”:
But the pilot appeared on the surface, holding onto a flotation device as a tugboat and then police boats approached.
And the whole scenario was caught on camera:
— JJ Magers (@JJmagers) March 11, 2018
According to sources, the aircraft is owned by Liberty Helicopters, a company that offers both private charters and sightseeing tours popular with tourists. They have not yet commented, and cause of the crash has not yet been confirmed.
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