[This post has been updated]
The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash of a helicopter into the East River in New York City on Tuesday afternoon.
The helicopter was carrying five people, including the pilot. According to the Wall Street Journal, four people were pulled from the water during an initial rescue, and another passenger was recovered later. Multiple news reports listed two passengers in serious condition. The New York Times City blog reported that a female passenger has died.
The NTSB said Member Mark Rosekind would accompany its team from Washington and serve as spokesman.
The Associated Press reported that the helicopter, described as a Bell 206, crashed into the river off 34th Street in midtown Manhattan. Witnesses said the helicopted appeared to be having mechanical troubles.
Joy Garnett told the AP she and her husband were waiting for a ferry when they heard the chopper and she saw it do “a funny curlicue.”
“I thought, ‘Is that some daredevil move?’” Garnett said. “But it was obviously out of control. The body spun around at least two or three times, and then it went down.”
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said during a press conference that four people aboard managed to escape from the helicopter and were rescued outside, but the fifth person was trapped. It was unknown if that person was conscious. Bloomberg said three people were in the hospital.
Identification of the deceased woman was pending notification of the next of kin, Bloomberg said. There were conflicting details on the nationalities and residences of the passengers, he said, some of whom were believed to be Britons who lived in Portugal and Australia.
“All the workers feel for this family, and we wish this had not happened,” he said.