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Helicopter crashes into East River, trapping passengers

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Helicopter crashes into East River, trapping passengers

The Federal Aviation Administration tweeted that a Eurocopter AS350 "went down" near Roosevelt Island around 7 p.m., adding the chopper is reportedly upside down in the water.

While the pilot managed to escape the capsized aircraft in good shape, police said the safety harnesses meant to protect the five passengers prevented them from freeing themselves quickly from the overturned helicopter. Video and photos posted on social media showed several police and fire boats shining their lights on the water. Helicopters fly people around the city for business, traffic reports, medical reasons and tourism. Three other passengers were injured.

In 2009, a sightseeing helicopter of the same model and operated by the same company as the one in Sunday's wreck collided with a small, private plane over the Hudson River, killing nine people, including a group of Italian tourists.

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"Just witnessed a helicopter crash into the East River. hope everyone's ok".

The NYPD and FDNY confirmed rescue operations are under way. One injured eight people including some banking executives. The NTSB will determine probable cause of the accident.

A Reuters photographer witnessed three people recovered by rescue divers being wheeled on stretchers onto a midtown pier shortly before 9 p.m.

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