“Zero Lima Hotel, mayday, mayday, mayday,” pilot Richard Vance told the air traffic control tower operator. “East River, engine failure.”
The pilot managed to free himself from a safety harness and was later discharged in good health from hospital. The New York Police Department identified the pilot as Richard Vance, 33, but declined to release the victims’ identities until their families were notified.
The red helicopter, which had been privately chartered for a photo shoot, hit the water and turned upside down at about 7 p.m. EDT (23 GMT) near the northern end of Roosevelt Island, just east of Manhattan.