At least two people have died after a private helicopter crashed in the East River in New York City, and video captured the moment the helicopter entered the water. You can watch the video below but be aware that it is disturbing.
Eric Phillips, the press secretary for New York’s mayor, confirmed the fatalities on Twitter. “The Mayor was just briefed by the police and fire commissioners. At least one survivor, at least two fatalities. Divers are still in the water,” he wrote. According to CBS Local, “Eurocopter AS350 went down in the river near the northern end of Roosevelt Island at around 7 p.m.”
The widely circulated video was first posted by Twitter user @JJmagers. “@cnn @FoxNews just witnessed a helicopter crash into the East River .. hope everyone’s ok. Caught it all on tape!” he wrote.
The New York Police Department confirmed that five people were on board the helicopter. The names of the victims had not yet been released on the evening of March 11, 2018. The cause of the crash has also not yet been released. Stretchers were seen by reporters who responded to the scene.
The New York Post reported that the chopper was a tour helicopter. The pilot survived, the newspaper reported. According to The Post, the passengers on the helicopter “were trapped inside the sinking vessel while the pilot scrambled to safety.”
“There was about a minute where we didn’t see anyone come out,” witness Brianna Jesme, 22, told The New York Post in an interview. “Then after a minute, we saw a man come out holding onto a raft screaming: ‘Help! help! Ah!’ and then inaudible screams.”
The NYPD released a brief statement on Twitter. “A helicopter earlier this evening descended into the East River near East 90 St. Numerous NYPD & @FDNY personnel still on the scene including Harbor and divers in the water. Expect delays on the FDR due to this,” NYPD tweeted.
The New York Fire Department sent divers to the scene.