A tragic helicopter crash killed two people Sunday evening in New York City's East River and left another three injured. The helicopter was a Eurocopter AS350 and it went down near Roosevelt Island around 7 p.m. Sunday evening, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
<blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/CNN?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@cnn</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/FoxNews?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FoxNews</a> just witnessed a helicopter crash into the East River .. hope everyone’s ok. Caught it all on tape! <a href="https://t.co/saHOMTLR69">pic.twitter.com/saHOMTLR69</a></p>— JJ Magers (@JJmagers) <a href="https://twitter.com/JJmagers/status/972974463175286784?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 11, 2018</a></blockquote>
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The U.S. Coast Guard said the aircraft had six passengers when it crashed into the river. One person was rescued by a tugboat and five others were "recovered by divers", according to the U.S. Coast Guard statement. FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said in a press conference the pilot was able to unbuckle the seatbelt and free himself but the others did not know how.
It took divers from the police and fire departments to free the other five passengers, three were rushed to local hospitals in critical condition and two were pronounced dead at the scene, according to Nigro. The police have not released the identity of the victims or the pilot. The tragic moment of the crash was caught on video and shared on social media.
A spokesman form the FDNY said two critical victims were taken to Bellevue hospital while one was sent to NYU and the pilot was treated at Cornell hospital. The helicopter itself was owned by Liberty Helicopter Tours and was being used for a private photo shoot when it crashed in the river.
According to audio posted on liveatc.net, a recording of air traffic communications, the helicopter reported an engine failure during a mayday call to air traffic control. The audio recording revealed the helicopter was upside down in the water as boats arrived to rescue the passengers.
Witnesses say the helicopter quickly filled with water and sunk into the river. One 66-year-old witness named Mary Lee said she saw the crash happen from the window of her apartment. "It's cold water. It was sinking really fast. By the time we got out here, we couldn't see it. It was under water," she said.
Xinran Jiang, another witness who saw the crash from her bedroom window said, "It almost looked like it was landing. It wasn't moving fast. We were curious where it was going to land. Then the next minute, it was diving into the river."
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