Five Dead In East River Helo Accident (Updated)
Five people were killed after a tour helicopter autorotated into New York's East River Sunday evening and turned over after touching down on the water. News reports said the pilot was the sole survivor of the accident. Prior to touching down on the water on inflatable skid floats, the pilot had reported engine trouble to ATC. CNN published dramatic footage and ATC audio of the mishap early Monday morning.
Informal news footage obtained by several outlets show the Eurocopter AS350 touching down and remaining upright on its floats momentarily before rolling sharply to the right. First responders said they had difficulty freeing passengers who were tightly harnessed into the aircraft. The pilot did escape and was taken to a hospital for observation.
The AS350 was operated by Liberty Helicopters and had been chartered for a private photo shoot, according to authorities. The accident was caught on cellphone video obtained by Fox News. Sunday's accident was the company's third in 11 years, according to WABC-TV. In August 2009, nine people died in a midair between a Liberty helicopter and a Piper Lance in the Hudson River VFR corridor near Teterboro Airport.
AVweb will report additional details when they become available.