New York, NY - A photoshoot turned deadly Sunday night when a chartered helicopter carrying five passengers and a pilot, crashed into New York's East River, near Gracie Mansion.
The pilot was rescued after clinging to a yellow float, but all passengers had perished, as of Monday morning. Witness accounts state the helicopter was noticeably noisy as it flew - taking off from Kearny, NJ - then abruptly plummeted, capsized and was quickly submerged underwater. Officials said the helicopter went down around 7:00 PM.
Passengers were recovered by local first responders, but it was apparently too late. According to Fire Commissioner, Daniel Nigro, "It took awhile for the divers to get these people out. They worked very quickly as fast as they could. It was a great tragedy that we had here."
Nigro also said, "One of the most difficult parts of the rescue were that five people were tightly harnessed. People had to be cut out," according to CNN.
As of the latest reports, it appears the crash may have been caused by a passenger's piece of luggage. It is believed the luggage accidentally hit the emergency fuel shutoff button.