THE BRONX - A helicopter crash in the East River Tuesday afternoon has claimed the life of a woman and sent three people to the hospital.

A fifth person in the crash, the pilot, escaped unharmed.

Officials say the helicopter was taking off from the 34th Street Heliport when it appeared to experience trouble, causing it to crash into the river.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg offered condolences, but praised the quick response by emergency personnel.

"The response was quite amazing whether it was airborne response, waterborne response or trucks and cars that drove here. The response was everything you could ask it to be," he said.

Crews were able to recover the helicopter after it submerged in the river.

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators are working to determine the cause of the incident.