2 killed, 3 critically injured in NYC helicopter crash

A helicopter believed to be carrying several people crashed in New York City's East River on Sunday night and rescues were under way according to multiple reports

The NYC Ferry said late Sunday on Twitter that service on the Astoria and East River routes was now suspended until further notice because of the helicopter crash.

Eric Phillips, a spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, said in a post on Twitter there was "at least one survivor, at least two fatalities".

A Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman said the Eurocopter AS350 went down just after 7 p.m. Video and photos posted on social media showed several police and fire boats shining their lights on the water.

"It kind of hit sideways and just flipped over", Brianna Jesme, 22, an Upper East Side resident who witnessed the crash, told Reuters TV.

The FDNY reports they are on the scene of a helicopter that went into the East River.

"The pilot freed himself, the other five did not", Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro told reporters during a brief press conference.

NY has seen helicopters crash before, including one in October 2011 that claimed the life of British woman as she celebrated a 40 birthday.

Investigators did not say if more than three people were on board.

A helicopter on a sightseeing tour of Manhattan crashed into the Hudson River in July 2007, shaking up the eight people aboard but injuring no one.

A crash in October 2011 in the East River killed a British woman visiting the city for her 40th birthday.

Emergency personnel have launched a search and rescue operation. Three other passengers were injured. The NTSB will determine probable cause of the accident.

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