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. Texas Paramedic

    I have been paramedic for over 16 years. Today I saw a camera chasing alongside a naked victim as CNN spoke on the tragedy. The tragedy is horrible and should be thought a such, but seeing a live shot of someones most vunerable moments. The family, the friend moreover the victim deserve better than that image. As a Paramedic, I am shocked by the lack of foresight of the EMS when that much press is around and not making some attempt at preserving the pts dignity. As a viewer, I lose faith in the organization that wide screens the images to shock the world with the most vivid pictures. I am saddened on both fronts.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cassy

    I'm guessing there wasn't any "miracle landing"

    October 4, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kevin

    Condolences to the family of the one who died.

    October 4, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. john


    October 4, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kevin

    Wish the best for the family of the victim.

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

    Uhmmm, the helicopter pilot was trying to prove the rear tail rotor makes an excellent egg beater....

    October 4, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ToddG

    How is this national news? Why can't the local affiliates (who are providing the footage, by the way) just be left to cover this? Ah, slow news day I guess.

    October 4, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dorienne

      slow indeed!

      October 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Definitely slow, the top story on Good Morning America today was Amanda Knox, I mean, who cares! That is such a non story.

      October 4, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • smartamerican

      Because they think new york is center of the universe.........i think different.

      October 4, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • michael

      hey todd i hope something like this happens to you and no one knows including family and friends. see how you like it you cold hearted bas...d

      October 4, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Playjojo

      God, you're an idiot.

      October 4, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • OregonMan

      News is news. If you want to keep it local then don't read SIMPLE

      October 4, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josie

      You sound like a sociopath.

      October 4, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kevin

    Don't understand why someone people think this person dying on the copter was a good thing. Shaking my head. He/she didn't hurt you.

    October 4, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Eagle One

    Four souls survived a hlo crash in one of the worst urban rivers (Current wise) in the Country. One soul did not and all some moron wants to do is rag about obese people? What have we come to in this country? Are we the land of the freaks and home of the brainless? Karma is a real killer! Can we show some compassion for these souls????

    October 4, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • clarke

      thank you for your comment. I so agree with you.

      October 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Angela O

    I remember years back there was a helicopter crash that carried Colgate-Palmolive executives. This happened off of the East 57th heliport. I wonder if today's crash was similar.

    October 4, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • NickM

      Angela O
      The Colgate-Palmolive accident you're thinking of was a BK117 which crashed after shedding a tail fin into the tail rotor, due to metal fatigue which the manufacturers had not anticipated to happen that soon. This one's a Jet Ranger (which has a good service record) so I doubt the causes are similar.

      Whatever the cause, my heart goes out to those involved, especially for the lady that died.

      October 4, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Kevin

    Forever21, totally agree with you.

    October 4, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Obuckwheat

    Bush did it again.

    October 4, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. flocary

    The ones that lived are very lucky indeed. Sorry the lady died though.

    October 4, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Thang Nguyen

    It was very sad to hear about this.......Whoever alive in the crashed, they are the most luckiest in the helicopter.

    October 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. kay-kay

    this is so sad

    October 4, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
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