NEW YORK (Reuters) – A helicopter crashed in New York City’s East River on Sunday, killing at least two people, and emergency divers were in the water around the partially submerged aircraft, according to officials.
Eric Phillips, a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, said in a post on Twitter there was “at least one survivor, at least two fatalities. Divers are still in the water.”
The Federal Aviation Administration said the Eurocopter AS350 went down near the northern end of Roosevelt Island at about 7 p.m. and was reported to be upside-down in the water. The agency said it was investigating, and the National Transportation Safety Board would also probe the incident.
The U.S. Coast Guard said six people were on the helicopter. The Coast Guard launched three boats to aid in the response joining New York City emergency responders.
“It kind of hit sideways and just flipped over,” Brianna Jesme, 22, an Upper East Side resident who witnessed the crash, told Reuters TV.
Video of the incident filmed by an onlooker and posted on Twitter showed a red helicopter descending toward the water at dusk, then landing with a large splash before tipping onto its right side, its tail lights still flashing.
Reuters could not immediately verify the authenticity of the footage.
The New York City Fire Department tweeted that its members were with police at the location near 91st Street in Manhattan.
New York police and fire officials planned to brief reporters later on Sunday.
(Reporting by Daniel Wallis; Additional reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Scott DiSavino in New York; Editing by Peter Cooney and Cynthia Osterman)