Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

NTSB eyes luggage in NYC chopper crash; victims identified

NTSB eyes luggage in NYC chopper crash; victims identified

US investigators probing a deadly helicopter crash in New York City's East River want to speak with the pilot who warned of engine failure before the chartered aircraft crashed into the icy water, killing all five passengers. He made a mayday call to LaGuardia Airport saying that the aircraft experienced engine failure.

A federal official tells The Associated Press that the pilot who survived a deadly helicopter crash in New York City's East River 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 harnesses, which are different than traditional aircraft seat belts, are created to allow people to safely photograph from a helicopter with the doors open.

@cnn @FoxNews just witnessed a helicopter crash into the East River. hope everyone's ok.

Cadigan, 26, graduated from Southern Methodist University with a degree in Journalism and had recently moved to NYC to begin a career with the Business Insider.

Liberty Helicopters is one of the biggest sightseeing operators in New York City.

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On Monday, a law enforcement official identified the vicitms as Daniel Thompson, 34, and Tristan Hill, 29, both from New York; Trevor Cadigan and Brian McDaniel, both 26 from Dallas; and Carla Vallejos Blanco, 29, who was from Argentina.

Video taken by a bystander and posted on Twitter shows the red helicopter land hard and then capsize, its rotors slapping at the water.

By the time emergency workers arrived, the helicopter was upside down and underwater.

"People had to be cut out", he said.

The charter service, Liberty Helicopters, has been involved in two other high-profile crashes in NY.

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

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

The helicopter was being chartered for a photo shoot when it went down near Gracie Mansion, the mayoral residence.

The National Transportation Safety Board dispatched investigators on Monday.

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

"We need to know before we get in the chopper how to get ourselves out quickly", Adams said. The National Transportation Safety Board dispatched a team on Monday.

Officials did not immediately release the names of the pilot or passengers or say how the two passengers died. No one was injured in the crash.

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The NTSB will likely look at three things: the pilot's training, experience and immediate response during the crash; what, if anything, on the helicopter caused the crash; and what environmental factors may have contributed to the crash, said Gary C. Robb, an aviation attorney based in Missouri.

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