A helicopter with five people aboard crashed into the East River this afternoon after taking off from a launch pad on the riverbank, killing one passenger and injuring the others. Police divers pulled the dead woman from about 50 feet of water about an hour after the Bell 206 helicopter went down around 3pm. All the passengers appeared to be British tourists, police said. The pilot, Paul Dudley, managed to swim to shore while police rescued two women and a man from the chilly water. The women were in critical condition, and the man was stable.
The private chopper went into the river off 34th Street in midtown Manhattan. It's unclear what happened, but witnesses reported it was sputtering and appeared to be in mechanical distress. "I thought, 'Is that some daredevil move?'" said one witness. "But it was obviously out of control. The (helicopter) spun around at least two or three times, and then it went down." (Read more helicopter stories.)