A woman has died and two others are seriously injured after a helicopter plunged into a river in New York City shortly after take-off, officials say.
Witnesses described how the privately owned Bell 206 aircraft span out of control before it fell into East River near 34th Street in midtown Manhattan.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has scheduled a news conference near the crash site soon.
At least seven boats joined the frantic rescue effort, along with divers.
Unconfirmed reports said all the passengers were tourists from England.
“We got the call at 15:22 (19:22 GMT) for us to respond to a helicopter crash,” a spokesman for the Fire Department of New York told the Press Association.
“We did, and four people were pulled from out of the water. Two females are in a critical condition. One had suffered a cardiac arrest and one a respiratory arrest.”
The East 34th Street Heliport (link is to Wikipedia entry) has been around since the erly 1970′s. Older readers may remember the Pan Am heliport above Grand Central Terminal when the building later known as the MetLife building whose street addres has remained intact (200 Park Avenue).
The Atlantic Wire reports that one passenger, a woman, did not survive the crash. Update: One Woman Dead in New York Helicopter Crash
The Washington Post’s coverage - Rescue after helicopter crashes into East River – includes a CBS News video clip of the rescue.