A private helicopter chartered for a photo shoot crashed into New York City’s East River near Roosevelt Island killing at least two aboard.
The helicopter pilot survived and three passengers were taken to the hospital in critical condition, according to officials. There were six people aboard the private aircraft.
“It was a great tragedy on an otherwise quiet Sunday evening,” said New York City Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro. He said divers faced difficult conditions with cold water, currents and tight harnesses on the passengers. “It took awhile for the divers to get these people out.”
The Federal Aviation Administration said on Twitter that the Eurocopter AS350 helicopter went down around 7 p.m. and was reportedly inverted in the water. NYPD Chief James O’Neill said the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the accident.
Mr. O’Neill said the helicopter is owned by Liberty Helicopter Tours. An email to the company’s chief executives wasn’t immediately returned and no one was reachable by phone at the company’s headquarters.
Emergency responders including the police’s special-operations team were on the scene near East 90th Street, according to a twitter message from the police.
The FAA said local authorities will confirm the number of people on board and their condition. A police spokesman said the situation is still developing and had no further details.
In recent years there have been several helicopter accidents in the city. In 2011, a helicopter carrying a veteran pilot and four tourists crashed into the East River, killing three tourists. In 2013, a helicopter pilot landed safely after the aircraft lost power at about 1,500 feet with four tourists on board. There were no seriously injuries.
—Mike Vilensky contributed to this article.
Write to Keiko Morris at Keiko.Morris@wsj.com and Melanie West at firstname.lastname@example.org