published Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Helicopter crashes into New York's East River

In this frame grab image taken from WCBS-TV, survivors cling to the bottom of a helicopter after it inverted following a crash in the East River in New York, today. The New York Police Department says the helicopter with five people aboard crashed into the river after taking off from a nearby heliport. The pilot and three others were pulled from the water shortly by rescue crews after it went down. Authorities were still searching for one other passenger, believed to be female, but the helicopter was fully submerged. (AP Photo/WCBS-TV)
In this frame grab image taken from WCBS-TV, survivors cling to the bottom of a helicopter after it inverted following a crash in the East River in New York, today. The New York Police Department says the helicopter with five people aboard crashed into the river after taking off from a nearby heliport. The pilot and three others were pulled from the water shortly by rescue crews after it went down. Authorities were still searching for one other passenger, believed to be female, but the helicopter was fully submerged. (AP Photo/WCBS-TV)
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Police Department says a helicopter with five people aboard crashed into the East River after taking off from a heliport on the water.

The pilot and three others were pulled from the water shortly after it went down by rescue crews. Authorities are searching for one other passenger, believed to be female, but the helicopter was fully submerged.

Police spokesman Paul Browne says the private Bell 206 chopper went into the river off 34th Street in midtown Manhattan. It was taking off from a heliport in the area when it crashed.

It's a commercial helicopter. A rescue effort is under way with at least seven boats. Divers were in the murky water.

The conditions of those on board were not immediately available.

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prairiedog said...

I haven't been able to get a look at the wreckage from the online videos and photos, but the most likely reason for this crash was a tail rotor malfunction. That's what causes a helicopter to spin uncontrollably, and that's what witnesses seem to be describing. When the tail rotor drive system fails, or it cannot be controlled, the helicopter will tend to spin to the right. It's how they work. The only reason the tail rotor is there is to stop the machine from spinning to the right when the main rotor is turning.

October 5, 2011 at 3:23 p.m.
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