Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Culture | By Margie Dunn

Five dead in NY river helicopter crash

Five dead in NY river helicopter crash

A coroner has ruled that the five passengers who died in a helicopter crash in New York City on Sunday all died as a result of accidental drowning.

Escaping the harness takes practice and expertise, according to Judith Verweijen, who works in the oil and gas industry offshore and flew on a FlyNYON helicopter on Saturday in NY.

The passengers were recovered by police and fire department divers, who had to remove them from tight harnesses while they were upside down, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. He was taken to the hospital for observation.

'One of the most hard parts of the operation, we're told, was the five people, besides the pilot, were all tightly harnessed, ' said Commissioner Nigro. "People had to be cut out", he said.

A federal official told AP the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is also scrutinising why an emergency flotation device apparently did not deploy properly when the tour helicopter went down in the East River.

Liberty Helicopters is one of the biggest sightseeing operators in New York City. According to CBS, his LinkedIn profile says he has worked for Liberty Helicopters for nearly two years and has prior experience flying choppers with another company in CT. "We have been in business and flying safely for over 30 years", the website says.

The company paid $US23,576 in fines in 2010 and 2011 for violating maintenance, record-keeping and flight operations rules, according to the FAA. "Incidents" can include events that end in safe landings, 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.

Liberty Helicopters is referring all inquiries about Sunday's crash to federal authorities. In June 2005, two helicopters crashed into the East River in the same week, injuring a total of 15 people.

The red helicopter crashed into the river near Roosevelt Island, between Manhattan and Queens, at about 7 p.m., police said.

The charter helicopter was hired for a photo shoot. The helicopter was upside-down and submerged when emergency responders reached it, authorities said.

Police said the chopper was in the water around 23rd Street and called for a barge with a crane to pull it out.

FlyNYON said in a statement on Twitter that it was fully cooperating with the FAA and NTSB investigation.

The National Transportation Safety Board dispatched investigators on Monday.

The floats are supposed to keep a helicopter upright; the Eurocopter AS350 that crashed Sunday (local time) overturned and submerged.

The cause of the crash remained unclear.

In a brief video posted on Cadigan's Instagram account, the pair can be seen sitting in the chopper as it appears to lift off.

Photojournalist Eric Adams captured this photo from another FlyNYON charter flight shortly before the helicopter crash in the East River on March 11.

When he was over the water, he looked down to shut off the fuel lever, but saw that it had already been depressed. Thought it was unusual, but didn't expect it to crash.

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