Helicopter crashes into East River in New York City

Oct 04 2011

A woman has died and two others are seriously injured after a helicopter plunged into a river in New York City shortly after take-off, officials say.

Police spokesman Paul Browne said the privately owned Bell 206 helicopter fell into East River near 34th Street in midtown Manhattan.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has scheduled a news conference near the crash site soon.

At least seven boats joined the frantic rescue effort, along with divers.

Unconfirmed reports said all the passengers were tourists from England.

The Fire Department of New York said earlier on its Twitter feed: "Current report: 1 male pilot stable condition, 2 adult females in critical, 1 adult male stable, searches continue."

Joy Garnett, a witness on a nearby dock, told the Associated Press news agency that she had seen the aircraft lift about 25ft (8m) off the ground, before it span around two or three times and then dropped into the water.

The helicopter flipped over, its blades sticking up out of the water, she said.

"It didn't make much noise," Ms Garnett said. "It was just a splash and sunk."

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2011 BBC

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