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Harrowing Details of Fatal NYC Chopper Crash & Rescue

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

We are learning the harrowing details of that helicopter crash and the rescue in the murky waters off New York City that left one passenger dead.

The pilot apparently lost control of the chopper just after take-off Tuesday afternoon, crashing in the East River.

"We're going down," he yelled to his four passengers, according to the New York Daily News. The helicopter then landed upside down in the water.

Officers from the NYPD's anti-terror unit and Emergency Service Unit happened to be in the area and they heroically jumped into the cold, choppy waters on a rescue mission.

After a long swim police reached the helicopter, finding two men clinging to the underside of the doomed chopper and two unconscious women "just bobbing in the water."

"The pilot was by the helicopter, screaming for help," Detective Keith Connelly said. "He was yelling, 'Someone is in the helicopter!'"

But they could not save that passenger as the chopper got sucked down to the bottom of the river. It took two hours to retrieve the body of Sonia Marie Nicholson, a British tourist who was in New York to celebrate her 40th birthday.

Nicholson's mother and partner are in critical condition. Her stepfather was treated and released. The pilot was not hurt but sources say he is "distraught" over what happened.

"I think that he's okay," the pilot's wife, SunHe Sherwood-Dudley told the Associated Press. "These are actually very dear friends of ours that were in the helicopter."