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At least two dead after helicopter crash off Manhattan

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At least two people have died and one has been rescued after a helicopter crashed into the East River off Manhattan.

The Eurocopter AS350, a model used by tourist companies, went down near the northern end of Roosevelt Island at about 7pm local time.

There were six people on board the helicopter, the US Coast Guard said.

The US Federal Aviation Administration said that the helicopter was reportedly turned upside-down in the water.

Witnesses described seeing at least one person emerge from the helicopter and wave their hands for help.

Eric Phillips, spokesman for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, confirmed the details of casualties and said on Twitter that divers were still in the water.

Xinran Jiang, who lives on Roosevelt Island with her husband, said they saw a red helicopter rapidly descending near the north end of the island at about 7:08pm.

She told the New York Times that the helicopter showed no obvious signs of trouble before going into the river.

“It almost looked like it was landing,” Ms. Jiang said.

“It wasn’t moving fast.

“We were curious where it was going to land.

“Then the next minute, it was diving into the river.”

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

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he was monitoring the situation.

He added: “Our thoughts and hope for safe recovery are with those who were aboard.

“We are thankful for our first responders at the scene.”

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