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. Rob

    Congratulations CNN for removing any ounce of dignity the patient had after filming her nude body on the stretcher being brought to an awaiting ambulance.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. NYer

    I was walking down the street in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) around that time this afternoon, and heard, then saw, a helicopter flying very low overheard, going toward the river. It kind of freaked me out, but no one else on the street even stopped to look up at it. Must have been the one. I hope everyone on board is okay, must have been terrifying.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. romeo

    Que pena que una cosa como esta pase en n y

    October 4, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. pauleky

    This is newsworthy. However, let's say this helicopter had crashed in the Ohio river near, say, Louisville or Cincinnati. Would it even make CNN's U.S. page, much less the front page? I doubt it. It's only news if it happens in the Northeast, California or Atlanta (CNN's home). The rest of us live in flyover states and news there is just not important.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JOH

    2 people? I guess the hundreds of thousands of people getting badly injured/killed in USA doesn't matter at all since it isn't Casey Anthony. I guess the 750,000 people starving to death in Somalia isn't that big a news. What about the other 600,000 innocent people in concentration camps in North Korea?

    October 4, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. David M.

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

    This was first reported at 3:39. So, in order to just have something to post, less than an hour and half later, CNN says authorities are still investigating the cause of the crash. Of course they are still investigating! What a stupid statement. And they will keep investigating until they find the cause. Poor reporting at it's best.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. rotorhead

    Pilot error. Loss of tail rotor effectiveness plus it was likely over max gross weight as was fully loaded. Tourist helos charge by the passenger. Not an usual event but sux when you're over water without floats. No doubt the FAA will ding the owner for that as well.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Armchair Pilots

      Lol, jumping to conclusions already? There is no way to know what caused the helicopter to crash at this point in time.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • rejokerr

      Where'd you get that? Were you there? A Bell 206 can handle 5 people so how are you deeming it "overloaded"... What an idiot... F#$% troll..

      October 4, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • S Travis

      Yeah...that's what I happened. I knew it, but am still thankful that you're on the scene so that you can give an accurate account as to what happened. None of us has to wonder anymore. Thank you so much rotorhead. What would we ever have done without your knowledge?

      October 4, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burbank

      If they charge by the passenger I can see what you mean by overloaded! With today's obesity epidemic one person can weigh as much as 2-3 normal people at the same height. Get a copter load full of super-sized heifers and it's a recipe for disaster. At least the super-sized ones can float better than normal sized people provided they can get free of the craft to start with.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burbank

      Rejoker, did it ever occur to you that if they are going by headcount it can be overloaded due to obesity? An obese person can weigh as much as 2-3 times as much as a healthy person.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • davetharave

      Look at his name, he's an expert

      October 4, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • skip

      Hey look now the cops can do their real job now.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Chris

    The person that died had to have can land a helicopter with no engine. Look up helicopter emergency landing. You can even land on pavement.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Armchair Pilots

      Depends on how hard you hit the surface. If its hard enough, doesn't matter if its water or concrete. And controlled crash landings happen rarely in helicopters.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Hasselhoff

    Sure cover this story but ignore the fact the protesters around the nation are angry at the economy. Guess that's not important.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chase

      Yeah, there clearly aren't enough stories about the economy. Go shill somewhere else.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Louis

      I want things to change too, but the protesters currently don't really have direction. They are most just hoping for dialogue at this point, but until there is a specific, unified cause and a strong organization, nothing is going to get done. They need to start dressing like they want to be taken seriously, and to figure out what, specifically, they want to change.
      No news organization is going to cover it, simply because there's not much to say yet: "People are mad, and a lot of people dressed like hipsters and hippies and zombies(?) are out on the streets."
      The day they all throw on polo shirts and khakis and start getting organized with a set of specific "demands" things will start changing and the media will start listening. I hope they do.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hank526

      I am sure if one of your family members was on that helicopter, you'd be singing a different tune. Show some compassion!!

      October 4, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Todd

      I have an idea, why don't you go protest ignorance, of which you are the poster child.

      October 4, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fluffles

      People angry at the economy is news?

      October 4, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dave

    Kudos to Wolf for having the nads to have ANY control to what is shown in the Situation Room!!! My neutered pets have more nads!!! LOL Thanks for the laugh Wolf!!

    October 4, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. SMH

    Penistiny, you are the prik.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Nixo

    God help them! Help the victims & those rescuing them, tragic story.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. leeintulsa

    This pilot was no captain sully..

    October 4, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joel

    Miracle on the East River. It was miraculous that 4 people survived.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rev. Jeezy Snowflake


    October 4, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
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