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Pilot radioed for help before fatal crash in New York City’s East River

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A helicopter carrying six people crashed in New York City’s East River on Sunday, killing all passengers, while the pilot survived, police said.

Moments before it crashed into the frigid waters, the pilot frantically radioed for help, the New York Daily News and other media reported.

“Mayday, mayday, mayday,” the pilot said, according to news accounts. “Engine failure. We’ve got an engine failure over the East River.”

Two of the five passengers died at the scene and three were taken to two area hospitals where they later died, New York City Police and fire department officials confirmed early Monday.

The pilot freed himself and was rescued and later was treated and released in good condition from a hospital, police said.

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The Federal Aviation Administration said the Eurocopter AS350 went down near the northern end of Roosevelt Island at about 7 p.m. and was investigating. The National Transportation Safety Board said its investigative team would arrive on Monday.

“It’s a great tragedy,” said New York Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro at a press conference late Sunday. “It took a while for the divers to get these people out.”

Nigro said when the divers reached the helicopter it was inverted and in 50 feet of water with below 40-degree Fahrenheit water temperatures and four-mile-an hour currents.

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The passengers were tightly harnessed and the harnesses had to be cut and removed to free the passengers in the helicopter, he added.

A Reuters photographer witnessed three people recovered by rescue divers being wheeled on stretchers onto a midtown pier shortly before 9 p.m.

New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill said the aircraft was registered to Liberty Helicopters, a sightseeing and charter service in New York, and was on a private charter “photo shoot.”

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The U.S. Coast Guard launched three boats to aid in the response, joining New York City emergency responders.

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

Video of the incident filmed by an onlooker and posted on Twitter showed a red helicopter descending toward the water at dusk, then landing with a large splash before tipping onto its right side, its tail lights still flashing.

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Reuters could not immediately verify the authenticity of the footage.

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

Reporting by Daniel Wallis; Additional reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Scott DiSavino in New York, Daren Ornitz in New York and Rich McKay in Atlanta Editing by Peter Cooney, Cynthia Osterman and Toby Chopra


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
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Arizona ‘museum fire’ balloons to over 300 acres — and they’re evacuating the area

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A massive fire has grown much faster than anticipated, just north of Flagstaff, Arizona. Brady Smith, Coconino County National Forest, told ABC15 that they have at least 200 staff on the ground and planes dropping fire retardant.

AZCentral reported that the fire located in the Dry Lake Hills.

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WATCH: Trump apologist goes down in flames when he claims Democrats don’t get attacked like Trump

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Former White House advisor Matt Mowers went down in flames trying to claim Democrats call everyone a racist when they don't agree with them. He had to go back 15 years to find an example, but still never fully explained what the example was.

In a panel discussion with MSNBC's Kasie Hunt, Mowers employed the "what about" strategy, spinning the idea that Trump's racist remarks were justified because Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) used an anti-Semitic trope. To be fair, Omar apologized and met with community leaders and officials to better understand anti-Semitism. Trump can't even admit when he did something wrong, much less racist.

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Congress should ask Mueller these specific questions about Trump’s involvement with Russia: Conservative columnist

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Conservative Never-Trump columnist Jennifer Rubin outlined the essential questions that Democrats should ask special counsel Robert Mueller in an op-ed for the Washington Post.

"Rather than engage in the normal scattershot questioning punctuated by speechifying, the House Judiciary Committee should assign its able attorney Norman Eisen to conduct the questioning," proposed Rubin. "Members could then follow up with additional questions.'

One question she proposed asking: "Mr. Mueller, the attorney general said you did not find 'collusion.' However, you did not look for collusion. Please explain what you looked for and how that differs from [Attorney General William] Barr’s assertion that you essentially cleared President Trump of collusion?"

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