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Helicopter Goes Down in NYC East River

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NEW YORK (AP) — The body of a person who was missing after a helicopter crashed into the East River was pulled from the murky water Tuesday.

Police said the victim was a woman. She was among five people on the helicopter when it crashed Tuesday afternoon.

The pilot and three others were pulled alive from the water by rescue crews shortly after the chopper went down. Witnesses said the chopper was "out of control" before the crash.

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 some type of mechanical distress.

The conditions of those who were rescued weren't immediately available. The fire department said at least two people on board were taken to area hospitals in serious condition.

Joy Garnett and her husband were on the dock waiting to take the East River ferry to Brooklyn when they heard the blades of a helicopter and saw it start to take off from the nearby helipad. She said she saw it do "a funny curlicue."

"I thought, 'Is that some daredevil move?'" she said. "But it was obviously out of control. The body spun around at least two or three times, and then it went down."

She said the chopper had lifted about 25 feet off the ground before it dropped into the water without much of a splash. It flipped over, and the blades were sticking up out of the river. She said people on the dock started throwing in life jackets and buoys. Two people came up out of the waves.

"It didn't make much noise," she said. "It was just a splash and sunk."

The weather was clear but a little windy Tuesday, with winds of 10 mph gusting to 20 mph and visibility of 10 miles, according to the weather station at LaGuardia airport. There were a few clouds at 3,500 feet above sea level, well above the typical flying altitude for helicopters.

___

Associated Press writers Colleen Long, Chris Hawley and Cristian Salazar contributed to this report.



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