All five passengers died after helicopter crashes in New York City’s East River

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Two of the five passengers died at the scene and three were taken to two area hospitals where they later died, a spokesman for the New York City Police spokesman confirmed early Monday.

The pilot freed himself and was rescued and was treated and released in good condition from a hospital, police said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the Eurocopter AS350 went down near the northern end of Roosevelt Island at about 7 p.m. and was investigating. The National Transportation Safety Board said its investigative team would arrive on Monday.

“It’s a great tragedy,” said New York Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro at a press conference late Sunday. “It took a while for the divers to get these people out.”

Nigro said when the divers reached the helicopter it was inverted and in 50 feet of water with below 40-degree Fahrenheit water temperatures and four-mile-an hour currents.

The passengers were tightly harnessed and the harnesses had to be cut and removed to free the passengers in the helicopter, he added.

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