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See Doomed Helicopter Take Flight Moments Before Crashing in NYC River

13 March, 2018, 10:48 | Author: Melinda Barton
  • A helicopter believed to be carrying several people crashed in New York City's East River on Sunday night and rescues were under way according to multiple reports

Fire department of NY commissioner Daniel Nigro told reporters the helicopter turned upside down in the water, complicating recovery efforts.

The police have not yet officially identified the victims. Liberty Helicopters said in a statement on their website.

Officials said the passengers were on a sightseeing photoshoot and had taken off from Kearney, New Jersey. But it was actually the third time in 11 years one of the company's helicopters crashed in NY.

A federal official told The Associated Press that the pilot told investigators he believed a passenger's bag might have hit an emergency fuel shutoff switch in the moments before the chopper went down.

The pilot, who was the sole survivor of the crash, was identified as Richard Vance, 33, and was released overnight, according to ABC.

NY 1 television, citing police sources, reported that five of the six people flying in the helicopter had died, with only the pilot surviving.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident. The other three passengers, who had to be cut from the helicopter's safety harnesses, were declared dead at the hospital. Police called for a barge with a crane to pull the chopper out of the water near 23rd Street. The pilot was able to free himself and was rescued. Vance is an experienced pilot and flight instructor.

"He was just straight compassion and loyalty" and humility, Masinter said.

The dead also included two New York City residents - Tristan Hill, 30, of the sightseeing-tour company Sightsy, and Daniel Thompson, 34, who worked for the helicopter company - as well as 26-year-old firefighter Brian McDaniel of Dallas and Argentinian Carla Vallejos-Blanco, 29, officials said.

Cuenca del Plata University in Argentina said she studied art, design and communications.

Business Insider says Trevor Cadigan was "smart, talented, and ambitious" and "made a big contribution" during an internship there. But he said his heart goes out to everyone affected.

Also killed in the crash was Cadigan, a former WFAA intern and the son of longtime WFAA Production Manager Jerry Cadigan. "All of our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families".

"There are a whole lot of questions about this crash", he said. But an August 2009 collision over the Hudson River between a Liberty chopper and a small private plane killed nine people, including a group of Italian tourists. Investigators said the helicopter was flying too high. Fortunately, aided by an off-duty paramedic on board, all eight people survived. This crash is now renewing demands that the FAA end doors-off expedition flights at the very least for amateurs, and order changes to the design of safety harnesses. The FAA called it a Eurocopter AS350.

Victims in Sunday's deadly helicopter crash. The helicopter is said to have flipped upside and was submerged in the water.

A video that a Twitter user posted showed the red helicopter landing hard in the river and then flipping on one side as the rotors beat into the water.


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