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Multiple casualties after a helicopter crashed into New York City's East River

A helicopter crashed into East River in New York City, crash caught on camera (Photo: FDNY)

UPDATE: NYPD confirms 5 passengers in NYC helicopter crash are dead. One person, the pilot, freed himself and was rescued by a tugboat, officials said.

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(Sinclair Broadcast Group) -- Two people are dead after a tourist helicopter crashed into the East River in New York City on Sunday night.


The helicopter crashed around 7:15 p.m., according to The New York Post. One person, the pilot, was rescued but three other people are in critical condition.

An FAA spokeswoman told The Associated Press that the Eurocopter AS350 that went down is "reportedly inverted in the water."

Video captured on Twitter shows a red helicopter land hard in the water before tipping over as its rotors slap at the water.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigation the situation.

The crash is already causing traffic delays on nearby bridges as captured by social media users. There is also a large police presence in the area.

"Its' cold water. It was sinking really fast," Mary Lee, 66, told the New York Post. "By the time we got out here, we couldn't see it. It was under water."

Witnesses described seeing at least one person emerge from the helicopter and wave his or her hands for help.

The New York Post reports there are only two registered Eurocopter AS350's in the New York tri-state area and they are both with a tour operator known as Fly Liberty Charters.

According to Fly Liberty Charters' website, the company is the "largest helicopter charter operator in the Northeast and the only charter company based in Manhattan."

There is no word at the moment on what caused the helicopter to go down.

In 2011, a helicopter crashed into the East River killing one person and injuring four other people. The helicopter sank in 40 feet of water and ran into trouble after takeoff. The helicopter was attempting to return to the helipad when it crashed, reports The New York Times.

A helicopter on a sightseeing tour of Manhattan crashed into the Hudson River in July 2007, shaking up the eight people aboard but injuring no one. In June 2005, two helicopters crashed into the East River in the same week. One injured eight people including some banking executives. The other hit the water shortly after takeoff on a sightseeing flight, injuring six tourists and the pilot.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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