Pilot in NYC crash called ‘mayday,’ cited engine failure

NEW YORK (AP) — A pilot whose helicopter went down in Manhattan’s East River, killing five passengers, says in an emergency radio transmission that he had engine failure.

The pilot is heard saying “Mayday, mayday, mayday” during the crash on Sunday night.

The person at the other end of the transmission had trouble making out what the pilot was saying.

The pilot reported “an engine failure over the East River” and referenced a hotel.

The National Transportation Safety Board dispatched investigators on Monday.

The charter helicopter was hired for a photo shoot.

The pilot freed himself and was rescued by a tugboat. Emergency divers had to remove the passengers from tight harnesses while they were upside down.