Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Helicopter crashes in New York City's East River

Helicopter crashes in New York City's East River

The New York City helicopter crash that killed everyone on board except the pilot yesterday may have been caused by a passenger's piece of luggage, the pilot told investigators.

The NYPD identified the victims as Carla Vallejos Blanco, 29; Daniel Thompson, 34; Tristian Hill, 29; Trevor Cadigan, 26; and Brian McDaniel, 26.

The Coast Guard said, "Five people have been recovered by New York City Police Department and the New York City Fire Department divers and their conditions are now unknown". The 26-year-old firefighter had been with the department since May 2016.

On Company videos "FlyNyon" advertises their "8-point safety harnesses" specially created to keep passengers securely strapped to the helicopter, allowing them to dangle from the doorless craft snapping photos hundreds of feet above New York City.

The owner, Liberty Helicopters, referred all inquiries to federal authorities. The pilot said he had engine failure. The pilot was able to climb out of the partially-submerged helicopter.

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This is the company's third crash in 11 years, according to CNN affiliate WABC-TV. They included a midair collision with a small plane in August 2009 over the Hudson River that killed nine people and in July 2007 when a helicopter went down in the Hudson with a pilot and seven passengers aboard.

The harnesses, which are different than traditional aircraft seat belts, are created to allow people to safely photograph from a helicopter with the doors open.

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ABC News reported that the helicopter entered the water around East 86th Street, near Manhattan's Upper East Side.

John J. Magers filmed the crash as it took place and posted the video on Twitter. It was upside down in the water. The Argentine consulate said her family is working with the New York City medical examiner to bring her body back to Argentina. "People had to be cut out", the fire commissioner said.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed the make and model of the helicopter - it was a single-engine aircraft capable of accommodating up to six passengers.

A man on Twitter who identifies himself as a photographer, Eric Adams, said that he took a helicopter flight at the same time as the one that crashed.

It was not immediately clear what caused the crash and the extent of possible injuries.

"Our mission is to understand what happened and why to prevent it from happening again", she said.

Magers said he saw police drop divers into the river.

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