Woman celebrating her birthday dies in helicopter crash

A British woman celebrating her 40th birthday died after she and her family plunged into a New York river inside a tourist helicopter

Sonia Marra Nicholson was trapped inside the helicopter for around two hours after it crash landed and sank to the bottom of the East River, off the coast of Manhattan, the Telegraph reports.

Her family members were in a "very critical" condition after escaping and being pulled unconscious from the water by rescuers last night.

The group's American pilot, Paul Dudley, escaped without injury after swimming to safety.

According to witnesses the vehicle, a Bell 206 Jet Ranger, entered the water upside down, with its landing gear visible, and was submerged in the water.

"I thought, ''Is that some daredevil move?' But it was obviously out of control. The body spun around at least two or three times, and then it went down," the paper quoted an eyewitness, as saying.

According to the report, a police anti-terrorist unit and passersby jumped in and began rescuing the survivors.

The helicopter was last night removed from the river with a crane by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

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