One dead, four hurt as helicopter crashes in New York's East River
Members of the Coast Guard attempt to rescue those in the East River after a helicopter crashed Tuesday afternoon.
October 4th, 2011
04:29 PM ET

One dead, four hurt as helicopter crashes in New York's East River

[Updated at 6:00 p.m. ET] New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters that four out of the five people aboard the helicopter, including the pilot, got out by the time rescuers arrived.

"The fifth person was trapped," he said. That person, a woman, has died, he said. Her identification was pending as authorities sought to notify next of kin, Bloomberg said.

How the accident happened is still not clear, but "the helicopter was inverted, upside down" when rescuers arrived, he said.

Apprently the pilot was "having problems and tried to turn around, but that could change," he said, referring to preliminary reports.

He said the chopper wasn't equipped with flotation devices. "It’s optional whether you have flotation devices, but most helicopters do not have them. To the best of our knowledge it was a private helicopter," he said.

[Updated at 5:39 p.m. ET] New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to speak shortly about the helicopter crash, CNN's Wolf Blitzer reports. Four people pulled from the East River have been taken to the hospital, he said. One person has died.

[Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET] Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Don Deleo, who was aboard one of the boats dispatched into the East River after the helicopter crash, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that investigators are “basically just trying to figure out what exactly happened.”

Deleo said that there were several agencies on the scene and that the Coast Guard's role  “as of right now is to secure the scene … so that operations continue to recover the helicopter,” he said.

[Updated at 5:02 p.m. ET] One person has been confirmed dead and four injured, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer reports.

[Updated at 5:01 p.m. ET] Authorities were still investigating the cause of the crash, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer reports.

Rescuers pulled an unresponsive woman  from the water moments ago. TV cameras showed paramedics pushing a woman on a gurney to an emergency vehicle nearby.

[Updated at 4:46 p.m. ET] Rescue crews have pulled a fifth person from the water, CNN's Jason Carroll reports.

[Updated at 4:29 p.m. ET] The search in the East River is still ongoing with divers in the water, CNN producer Julian Cummings reports.

He said that there are at least five to six rescue boats in the waters and the helicopter that crashed is completely submerged.

[Updated at 4:27 p.m. ET] The FDNY says on Twitter: "Current report: 1 male pilot stable condition, 2 adult females in critical, 1 adult male stable, searches continue."

[Updated at 3:58 p.m. ET] Coast Guard officials say it is not clear whether the incident has left anyone injured.

Dozens of people gathered on the water's edge as emergency officials treated those involved in the crash.

The bottom of the helicopter could be seen floating in the water as rescue boats circled the scene.

In an interview with local affiliate WCBS, a former FDNY Commissioner says the water temperature is approximately 68 degrees.

[Posted at 3:39 p.m. ET] A helicopter has crashed in New York's East River, according to a Coast Guard official.

Images broadcast on CNN affiliate WCBS showed at least three people being towed to shore in a rescue effort.

This story is developing. We'll bring you the latest information as soon as we get it.

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Filed under: New York
soundoff (259 Responses)
  1. Antonio Velasquez Jr.t

    The FAA will determin that it was either pilot error or pilot negligence.Logically speaking nothing else could have contributed.All accidents are preventable.

    October 4, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • NickM

      Utter crap. Never heard of mechanical failure, metal fatigue or even bird strike?

      October 4, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JoAnn Bartholomew

    Get,your updates in order please?There,sure was a miracle on the East River,except for that poor woman who had died.I,feel sorry for that family. JoAnn

    October 4, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Antonio Velasquez Jr.t

    Oh ok,there was a miracle in the east river today,the premature update of a very fortunate lady.i wonder how soon it will be befor she can confirm that to the other not so fortunate that swam away unscathed?

    October 4, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. naturaly selected

    Shhizzllee happens i.e if its meant to happen it can't be stoped natural selection narrows it down better.god bless da dead ones family x

    October 4, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Antonio Velasquez Jr.t

    Furthermore,the poor person who was getting her chest pounded nonstop and while being kept upside up was a drown victim.Drown victims need to alternatively be turned while applying lung compressions from the backside up if the standard method fails during a brief period.One will expect to get as much water out of the lungs first.If there was foul play,i hope the CITY OF NEW YORK renders proper JUSTICE.

    October 4, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Old School

    Are you kidding me? We've become so insensitive and cynical. We read about a tragic helicopter crash and then become jealous that a certain American city seems to get all the media attention.

    What, are you HOPING for something as tragic to happen in your state so you can get air-time too?

    This is the negative result of years of exposure to reality television. Yuck!

    October 4, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Antonio Velasquez Jr.t

    The accident calls for a relentless investigation. It ha the effects of an ancient conspiracy.

    October 4, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Antonio Velasquez Jr.t

    The accident calls for a relentless investigation. It had the effects of an ancient conspiracy.

    October 4, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Antonio Velasquez Jr.t

    I would start the investigation by inspecting the seat belts.Then i will question the time it took to get the lady who died out.

    October 4, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • NickM

      That would not determine the cause of the crash, which is what an "investigation" is supposed to do.

      It was already reported the helo was spinning as it went down. That would indicate a tail rotor issue, and THAT would be the first place I'd start looking at.
      LONG before the seat belts. :/

      October 4, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • ColdCut

      Yes, a time and motion study is the order of the day

      October 5, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  10. NickM

    For those who care, the passengers were a British family. Mum, stepfather, daughter and daughter's partner. The daughter is the one who died.

    October 4, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Murphy

      Very sorry for the loss there are dimwits who do not understand loss of life and how it affects families.

      October 5, 2011 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Anthony

      Australian, actually.

      October 5, 2011 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
    • NickM

      That must be why the BBC is calling them Britons then, cos they were born in Britain.
      They are/were British expatriates living in Australia. Still makes them BRITS.

      October 5, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  11. Antonio Velasquez Jr.t

    If there are survivors of that tragic incident in the east river that are in critical condition,the city of new york ought to place competent twenty four hour secret service protection for them. We should all expect them to survive so that they can supply us with any information.We should interogate the two individuals who easily floated out of the craft to quick safety.

    October 4, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • NickM

      They'd sure get more sense out of them that we are getting out of YOU.

      October 4, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • ColdCut

      You're thinking maybe Witness Protection lockdown with g-men hit squads patrolling the perimeter ?

      October 5, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. Andyvon

    Why is there so much fuss made over an incident like this? It's sad for the family of the woman who died of course, but how many people died on the region's roads that day? A road accident that kills one and injures four is completely ignored as not even worth a mention. So why spend so much time and space reporting this accident to an international audience?

    October 4, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • NickM

      uh, because it was a foreign family.

      October 4, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boomboxer

      It matters

      October 10, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Antonio Velasquez Jr.

    I still say it smells like foul play.Why else did they place emphasis on a "sudden whether condition"immediately after the copter went into the water? While simultaneously claiming that the pilot was a skilled veteran that somehow saved the day in another unexplained aircraft safety incident. Without raising an ounce of speculation on pilot error or mechanical malfunction.Sounds like another crime and cover up.The whole incident wreaks of coverup.How the hell does a perfectly calm pilot be the one to pull an obviously drowned and bloated passenger from the submerged wreckage ,then non challantly swim to shore while performing a stylish back stroke with what looked like a smile on his face. I would be so horrorfied, that i wouldnt be able to swim.

    October 5, 2011 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
  14. Antonio Velasquez Jr.

    Another brow raiser. First, reports by several news agencies affirmed that the copter was taking off and that the pilot reported the effects of a sudden rain storm which had an impact on his manuverbility of the aircraft and resulted in the wreckage as the pilot attempted to return to the port landing.At least two eye witnesses at the crash site collaborated seeing the choper circle aroumd while frantically hovering moments before "gently splashing"down on the water flipping on its side and sinking upside down with its propellers functioning.Seconds later two peaple where seen by the eye witnesses floating alive in the water where the choper sank.

    October 5, 2011 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  15. Antonio Velasquez Jr.

    An internatioal team of investigators should look into the crash incident and not simply call it a "sad day in new york"as city officials stated on national television.what did the pilot report before the crash? How soon did he report it before the crash? was he actually landing from a trip, or taking off on a site seeing trip around manhatan as was initially reported? why did'nt the pilot disable all mechanical functions while a few feet above the water after reallizing the inevitable ,which would had helped keep the aircraft afloat longer? And exactly what the hell was it that the pilot sweetened his coffee with that confused him enough to experience "a sudden rainfall"when it was widely reported by local meteorologists that while cloudy there was no sudden precipitation.

    October 5, 2011 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
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