The New York Times writes that one of five passengers on a doorless helicopter hovered high above Manhattan leaned back toward the pilot to snap a photograph of his feet dangling in midair.
When this happened, the pilot heard and saw warnings that the single engine of the AS350 Europcopter was losing power. He considered, after realizing that the engine was losing power, trying to land in Central Park, but he then decided that there were too many people. As a result, he yelled to the passengers to return to their seats.
Then, he circled around and glided toward the East River, making a mayday call. The pilot then deployed the floats on the helicopter's skids in preparation to make an impact. He also reached down for the emergency fuel shut-off lever.
But he quickly discovered that it had already been tripped, possibly by his front-seat passenger, who needed to move the lever in order to move around the cabin and take pictures.
He then realized that hitting water was inevitable, so he cut the fuel again in order to prevent a fire. The helicopter then splashed down into the water and the flyer unbuckled his seatbelt so that he could get out of the cabin. He got onto the belly of the Eurocopter and called for help, but by the time rescuers arrived at the scene, it was too late for any of them. All of the passengers had died.
This "tour helicopter" actually plunged into the river near Gracie Mansion and was reportedly seen upside down. In hopes of savings those who remained trapped inside of the helicopter, divers immediately jumped into the water.
Reports claim that the helicopter was a Eurocopter AS350 and went down in the river near the north end of Roosevelt Island at around 7 pm.
The helicopter was owned by Liberty Helicopter Tours and had been privately chartered for a photo shoot.
Two were pronounced dead at the scene. The others were pronounced dead after the incident.
One person was able to capture the crash on tape. You can see it in the video below.
This isn't the first time that an incident like this has happened. According to the New York Times, in 2011, three tourists died after a helicopter crashed into the East River. Two others survived in this particular crash. In 2004, a WNBC helicopter crashed into a roof in the Flatbush neighborhood in Brooklyn while covering a shooting. In this incident, all three people survived. In 2009, a helicopter was carrying five Italian tourists and was struck by a single-engine airplane over the Hudson. Everybody on this aircraft died.
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