NYC Helicopter Crash Kills Female Passenger

A helicopter carrying tourists crashed yesterday in NYC’s East River, killing a woman and injuring three other passengers.

In a city with a dark history of aviation disasters (and near-misses), Tuesday’s accident occurred just after the helicopter took off from the 34th Street heliport at around 3:30pm. Speaking to reporters, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the dead woman had been trapped in the sinking craft. Four others who were on the helicopter escaped.

Bloomberg confirmed that some of the five people on board were related to one other. Two are in critical condition in Bellevue Hospital, and a third is in serious condition New York University Hospital. The pilot was successfully treated at the scene. Bloomberg talked the press through the accident:

“The pilot reported having trouble keeping aloft, and he tried to turn back but crashed into the water just north of the landing pad. Four out of the five got out on their own, the fifth got trapped.”

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The survivors were aided in the water by emergency services personnel and police officers who jumped into the river. A police scuba team later recovered the body of the trapped woman.

The passengers have been confirmed as a British couple and two Australian friends. They include Paul Nicholson, 71, his wife Harriett Nicholson, 60, and her daughter, Sonia Marra, 40. Marra’s friend, also 40, was the fourth passenger. It is not yet known which passenger died.

Mayor Bloomberg praised the responses of emergency services, describing it as “everything you could ask for.” The helicopter was a Bell 206B, according to U.S. Federal Aviation Administration records.