A sight-seeing helicopter plunged into the frigid East River in New York City, Sunday, leaving at least two people dead and the fate of others on the craft unknown. The crash was caught in a dramatic video filmed by a passerby.
The helicopter plunged into the river off East End Ave. and E. 89th Street on the Upper East Side, near Carl Schurz Park and Roosevelt Island.
BREAKING / VIDEO: A tourist helicopter crashed into New York's East River just before nightfall tonight. Number & fate of casualties unclear. Vessels & helicopters attended the rescue. Video via John J Magers @JJmagers pic.twitter.com/pqQBhSWfmr
— Airport Webcams (@AirportWebcams) March 11, 2018
The helicopter, a Eurocopter AS350, is pictured landing upright in the water, with rotor still spinning. A moment later it overturned.
“Just witnessed a helicopter crash into the East River … hope everyone’s ok. Caught it all on tape!” wrote Twitter user @JJmagers, who posted the video online just after 7:15 p.m.
The northbound lane of the FDR was shut down during the rescue effort.
“It sort of landed sideways and then it flipped over. There was a good solid minute that no one came out of the helicopter,” said Brianna Jesme, 22, who witnessed the afternoon crash.
“We didn’t know if it was supposed to be happening. Once it went down we realized that it wasn’t supposed to happen,” she said.
Indeed, it almost looked like the helicopter was purposely setting down on the water. But within seconds, it was clear the craft was in distress.
It looked from eyewitness video that the helicopter may have deployed a flotation device underneath the craft before hit hit the water.
The NYPD’s Aviation and Harbor Unit rushed to the scene, as did the FDNY’s Harbor Unit, sending divers to search for the helicopter’s occupants, according to the NYDaily News.
“Our thoughts and hope for safe recovery are with those who were aboard. We are thankful for our first responders at the scene,” said New York Gov. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in a statement.
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Helicopter plunges into NYC’s East River.
— The Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) March 11, 2018