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(VIDEO) Helicopter crashes into NYC’s East River, 5 dead – pilot lone survivor

East River helicopter crash (Twitter)
March 11, 2018

On Sunday night, a helicopter crashed then submerged into New York City’s East River around 7:20 p.m. EST. The five passengers died, and the pilot is the lone survivor.

The pilot has since told investigators that one of the passenger’s bags “may have inadvertently hit the emergency fuel shutoff button,” causing the crash landing, CNN reported.

In an Instagram video clip believed to be posted by one of the passengers before the crash, three young men can be seen taking off in a helicopter over the East River.

The clip was posted to Trevor Cadigan’s account, which was still live at the time of publication.

A screen shot of an Instagram video posted to Trevor Cadigan’s account before a helicopter crash in the East River on Sunday night. (Instagram/Screen Shot)

Cadigan, 26, was a photographer from Dallas, Texas. The New York Daily news reported that his brother-in-law, Travis Howard, “told the Washington Post that his relative was a video journalist who just moved to New York City a few months ago.”

The incident was all caught on video by various people in the surrounding area.

There were six people aboard the helicopter when it touched down on the water and then flipped over and submerged.

The pilot got out and was picked up by a tugboat.

Rescue divers retrieved the other five people. Two were initially declared dead and three were said to be in critical condition and taken to the hospital.

The FDNY and NYPD were quickly on-scene, as divers entered the water and multiple boats were searching as the helicopter was swept down the river by a strong current.

The FAA said in a statement that the helicopter was a Eurocopter AS350.

The rescue operation was coordinated around East 90th street in Manhattan and divers quickly entered the water.

A witness told the New York Post:

Within minutes, the helicopter disappeared beneath the waves, witness John Magers, 24, told The Post.

“It looked like it was completely submerged,” he said. “It couldn’t have been any longer than 5 minutes.”

The person who escaped was scooped up by a tug boat.

The videos below, including the video of the helicopter crashing, may take a moment to load.

Here is another video from a different angle of the helicopter crashing:

Another witness told ABCNY7 that:

“We were having dinner and we noticed a red helicopter going full speed towards the water. It almost looked very surreal and next thing we know it’s approaching the water slowly and then it just completely crashed and then sunk. Immediate reaction was to call 911,” said eyewitness Arineh Nazarian.

A rescue was underway.

The search for survivors was ongoing.