NEW YORK – The three people who were injured when a helicopter crashed Sunday night in New York have died in the past few hours, raising the final death toll to five, officials announced on Monday. Only the pilot survived.
Sources at the New York City Fire Department confirmed that two men died at the scene of the accident in the East River off the east coast of Manhattan, while two other men and a woman died in hospital hours later.
The lone survivor was the pilot of the Eurocopter AS350, who managed to escape as the chopper was sinking in waters close to Roosevelt Island.
Authorities have not announced the victims’ identities or their nationality. The helicopter crashed while making a tourist flight over New York City.
The victims were brought to the surface by divers of the New York City Fire Department, an operation made harder by the water’s intense cold, currents in the river and the crashed helicopter’s depth at some 50 feet (15 meters) below the surface.
The pilot called the control tower with a “mayday” alert and said the helicopter had “engine failure,” a warning reproduced by local media.
The chopper had taken off from the town of Kearny in the neighboring state of New Jersey.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is now in charge of investigating the accident.