Friday, 23 March, 2018

Pilot survives as five passengers die in NY helicopter crash

NTSB: Three crashes for Liberty Helicopters in 11 years Police identify victims of NYC helicopter crash
Melinda Barton | 13 March, 2018, 09:56

One of the passengers who died on that helicopter that crashed into NYC's East River captured the aircraft's takeoff and posted it moments before they went down. The other hit the water shortly after take-off on a sightseeing flight, injuring six tourists and the pilot.

No one answered an email Monday to Vance, 33, a licensed commercial pilot for seven years who's also licensed as a flight instructor.

Vance told investigators a passenger's bag may have accidentally activated the helicopter's emergency fuel shutoff switch, CNN and NY1, a NY cable news channel, reported, citing unnamed law enforcement officials. The National Transportation Safety Board dispatched a team on Monday.

Those killed were identified as Daniel Thompson, 34; Tristan Hill, 29; Carla Vallejos Blanco, 29; Brian McDaniel, 26; and Trevor Cadigan, 26.

Liberty Helicopter and FlyNYON did not respond to requests for comment on Monday morning. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on the Federal Aviation Administration to temporarily suspend Liberty's operating license pending investigation.

Vance was able to deploy a raft and get himself to safety.

All five passengers were recovered from the helicopter by divers deployed by police and firefighters, he said.

"[He was] a fantastic person", she said. "They worked very quickly as fast as they could", Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro, said according to The Associated Press.

"It's a great tragedy that we had occur here on an otherwise quiet Sunday evening", Nigro added.

Cadigan was an intern at media organization Business Insider until a few weeks ago, according to a company spokesman.

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.

Richards, who flies the same model that went down Sunday, says skid floats should be deployed immediately once a pilot knows the aircraft will be going into water. But the pilot appeared on the surface, holding onto a flotation device as the tugboat and then police boats approached.

The helicopter was owned by Liberty Helicopter Tours and had been chartered for a photo shoot. The FAA determined that the helicopter, with nine passengers on board, should have been maintaining a lower altitude to avoid the crash.

After Adams and the others landed back at the terminal in New Jersey, his pilot told him that the other helicopter had crashed in the East River.

US Sen. Chuck Schumer of NY is expected to call for the FAA to suspend Liberty Helicopters' FAA operating certificate until their safety record and this crash are fully assessed, according to a press release from his office. One injured eight people including some banking executives.