ALL five passengers have been killed after a helicopter crashed into New York City’s East River.

Police say a sixth person, the pilot, freed himself and was rescued by a passing tugboat on Sunday night.

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The helicopter was being chartered for a photo shoot when it went down near Gracie Mansion, the mayoral residence.

Video posted on Twitter shows a red helicopter land hard in the water and then flip on its side as its rotors struck the water.

Witnesses on a waterfront esplanade near where the aircraft went down said the helicopter was flying noisily, then suddenly dropped into the water and quickly submerged. But the pilot appeared on the surface, holding on to a flotation device as a tugboat and then police boats approached.

“It’s cold water. It was sinking really fast,” said Mary Lee, 66. “By the time we got out here, we couldn’t see it. It was underwater.”

Celia Skyvaril, 23, said she could see a person on what looked like a yellow raft screaming for help. News footage showed one victim being loaded into an ambulance while emergency workers gave him chest compressions.

The aircraft was owned by Liberty Helicopters, which offers private charters and sightseeing tours.