Five people are dead after a helicopter crashed in the East River on Sunday night.
The only survivor is the pilot who managed to free himself from the chopper. The five passengers became trapped inside the helicopter.
“One of the most difficult parts of the operation we're told is five people besides the pilot were all tightly harnessed. So these harnesses had to be cut and removed in order to get these folks off of this helicopter which was upside down and completely submerged,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.
The helicopter went down just after 7 p.m. near 88th Street. There’s no word on what went wrong, but the pilot was able to make a “May Day” call before crashing.
The passengers were submerged in the helicopter, which was upside down in the water.
“It took awhile for the divers to get these people out. The worked very quickly as fast as they could. That's 50 feet of water there. There was a four mile an hour current. The temperature was below 40, so everyone worked very hard. It's a great tragedy,” Nigro said.
The NTSB is expected to be on scene later today.
I was in the air with @FlyNYON at the same time the #helicopter crashed into #NewYork East River. Not confirmed but I believe this is it a few moments before the incident, and on ground prior to takeoff. Matches make (Eurocopter AS350), timing, and color. pic.twitter.com/kt8wOtyI4u— Eric Adams (@EricAdams321) March 12, 2018
“The helicopter is owned by Liberty Helicopter Tours and it was a private charter for a photo shoot,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said.
The pilot was taken to the hospital and has been released.
Photo Credit: Getty Images