A helicopter crashed into the East River off 34th Street at 3:22 p.m. on Tuesday, killing a woman passenger and injuring three other passengers, at least one of them critically, the authorities said. The pilot escaped unharmed.
The helicopter was “departing 34th Street and appeared to have some sort of trouble and tried to come back,” said Paul J. Browne, the head police spokesman.
The body of the woman was brought up around 4:50 p.m. by police divers.
Moments after the crash, televised coverage on WCBS-TV Channel 2 showed two men clinging to the inverted skids of the helicopter. A witness, Luis Reyes, said the men were yelling for help. “They were screaming ‘three more inside!’ ” Mr. Reyes said.
A man in a suit and a purple dress shirt was seen doing the backstroke toward the East 34th Street Heliport, and rescue divers were pulling another man in business clothes — possibly the pilot — ashore. Two female passengers were also pulled to safety.
Then the helicopter dropped 40 feet to the river’s muddy bottom, with the last passenger trapped inside.