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

New York State Police are seen near East 34th Street/Midtown East Landing after a chartered Liberty Helicopters helicopter crashed into the East River in New York. (Reuters)
Updated 12 March 2018
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All five passengers dead after helicopter crashes in New York City’s East River

NEW YORK: A helicopter carrying six people crashed in New York City’s East River on Sunday, killing all passengers, while the pilot escaped, police said.
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 7pm 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.
A Reuters photographer witnessed three people recovered by rescue divers being wheeled on stretchers onto a midtown pier shortly before 9 p.m.
New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill said the aircraft was registered to Liberty Helicopters, a sightseeing and charter service in New York, and was on a private charter “photo shoot.”
The US Coast Guard launched three boats to aid in the response, joining New York City emergency responders.
“It kind of hit sideways and just flipped over,” Brianna Jesme, 22, an Upper East Side resident who witnessed the crash, told Reuters TV.
Video of the incident filmed by an onlooker and posted on Twitter showed a red helicopter descending toward the water at dusk, then landing with a large splash before tipping onto its right side, its tail lights still flashing.
Reuters could not immediately verify the authenticity of the footage.
The NYC Ferry said late Sunday on Twitter that service on the Astoria and East River routes was currently suspended until further notice because of the helicopter crash.


India launches first sex offenders register amid wave of assaults

Updated 3 min 59 sec ago
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India launches first sex offenders register amid wave of assaults

  • The database will be accessible only to law enforcement agencies and not to the public
  • India was named the most dangerous in the world for women by experts in a survey
NEW DELHI: India has launched its first national register of sex offenders in a bid to stem crimes against women as the country reels from a series of high-profile rape cases.
The database will be accessible only to law enforcement agencies and not to the public, with 440,000 names registered, including those convicted of rape, gang rape, child sex crimes and sexual harassment, according to a home ministry statement.
It will also provide their photos, addresses and fingerprints, without compromising “any individual’s privacy.”
“The National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO) ... will assist in effectively tracking and investigating cases of sexual offenses,” the ministry said in the statement late Thursday.
The register comes as a spate of sexual assault cases have rocked the country, which was named the most dangerous in the world for women by experts in a survey published by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in June.
Earlier this week, police arrested the principal and four staff members of a boarding school in northern India over the rape of a teenage student.
Police said they detained four male students for the rape, which left the girl pregnant. The school staff are accused of destroying evidence and covering up the crime.
In southern Kerala state, protests and calls grew this week for the arrest of a bishop accused of repeatedly raping a nun over a period of two years.
In August, police in northern Uttar Pradesh state rescued 20 girls and three boys from a home where they were sold for sex.
That raid came just weeks after police rescued nearly 30 girls who were sexually assaulted and tortured at a shelter in Bihar state.
The urgency to establish a sex offenders register gained momentum following nationwide outcry over the rape and murder of a Muslim girl in a Hindu-dominated area of Jammu and Kashmir state earlier this year.
The accused, all Hindus, are currently on trial.
The case prompted the government to approve the death penalty for the rape of girls under 12, and also increase the prison term for the rape of older girls and women.
Despite various measures, India’s rape epidemic has shown no sign of dying down. More than 100 cases were reported daily in India in 2016, the latest government data shows.
An op-ed piece in the Hindustan Times newspaper on Friday called the new sex offenders register “timely,” but worried the government could overreach and misuse data, and warned it “may tarnish a person’s life forever if he is reformed.”
Many countries, such as the US, Britain and South Africa keep a record of people who have been convicted of sexual offenses such as pedophilia and rape.