Pilot survives as five passengers die in NY helicopter crash

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

The passengers who died included Dallas Fire-Rescue Officer Brian McDaniel, 26, his high school friend Trevor Cadigan, 26, a journalist who hailed from Dallas but had recently moved to NY; and Carla Vallejos Blanco, 29, a tourist from Argentina, according to its consulate.

Two of the passengers died at the scene and the New York City Fire Department confirmed that the other three who were taken to hospital with critical injuries have also died.

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

Liberty offers both private charters and sightseeing tours popular with tourists.

All five passengers aboard the Liberty Helicopters chopper were killed in the crash.

As the aircraft foundered, the pilot was heard on an emergency radio transmission calling: "Mayday, mayday, mayday".

The pilot may have gotten himself free because he knew what to do in that situation, ABC News reported.

R. Communications not responsible for video or audio content. Another passenger flashed a thumbs up. Reviews of the business online have, by and large, been positive, but following the tragic death of five passengers that likely survived the crash, only to perish due to their restraints, some have raised questions about the business's safety record. The Argentine consulate said her family is working with the New York City medical examiner to bring her body back to Argentina. Meanwhile in 2007 one of their choppers crashed into the Hudson River.

The switch, which is used in the event of a helicopter catching fire, may have been the cause of the sudden engine failure. The NTSB determined that "the pilot's inadequate visual lookout" was "the probable cause" of the incident, in which nobody was injured.

Mr Vance is yet to be interviewed by the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the crash.

NTSB member Bella Dinh-Zarr said the agency hasn't spoken to the pilot but hopes to do so.

A helicopter is seen crashed in New York City's East River on March 11, in this picture obtained from social media.

"It's cold water. It was sinking really fast", said Mary Lee, 66.

"There's no way those people could have gotten out of the helicopter", Adams told the Post.

Richard Vance told investigators a bag may have struck the emergency fuel shutoff button on the Eurocopter AS350, a law enforcement official told CNN. No one was injured in the crash.

Rescue teams worked in below-40-degree temperatures and 50-foot-deep water with 4-mph currents to remove the passengers from the helicopter.



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