The helicopter crashed into the East River during takeoff from the East 34th Street Heliport at 1525 Eastern time. Visual conditions prevailed. Two passengers sustained serious injuries and one passenger was killed. The commercial pilot and one passenger were not injured. The helicopter sustained substantial damage.
The pilot was taking friends on a local sightseeing flight. He landed at the heliport, picked up the four passengers and initiated a takeoff to the northeast. The helicopter climbed to a pilot-estimated altitude between 30 to 50 feet. Shortly thereafter, the pilot experienced a problem which included a small left yaw. He initiated a right turn to attempt to return and land at the heliport but the helicopter became uncontrolled and impacted the water. After water entry, the helicopter rolled inverted.