Miami helicopter crash: swimmers watch as aircraft plunges into ocean metres from beach

Three people were on board the aircraft when it plunged into the Atlantic Ocean off South Beach

A helicopter has crashed into the ocean a few metres away from swimmers and sunbathers in Miami, Florida.

Three people were on board the helicopter, which hit the water off the US city’s South Beach on Saturday.

Miami Beach police and fire departments responded to the scene and said on Twitter that two of the passengers were taken to a local hospital "in stable condition".

The Robinson R44 helicopter crashed at 1.20pm local time, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The beach area was closed while the agency investigated the incident.

Footage of the crash filmed by Argyris Kravaritis, who was on the crowded beach at the time, shows bathers in the sea near the helicopter, part of which was seen sticking out of the water.

The agency is investigating the cause of the crash with the National Transportation Safety Board.

Also on Sunday, a police helicopter crash along the Southern California coast killed one officer, while another was admitted to hospital with critical injuries.

The Huntington Beach officers were responding to a disturbance in the neighbouring city of Newport Beach at around 6.30pm on Saturday when the helicopter hit a narrow strip of water between Lido Isle and the Balboa Peninsula.

Witnesses said boat passengers rushed to pull the officers out of the helicopter, which landed upside down in shallow water.

Updated: February 21, 2022, 8:34 AM