Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

New York City: What Caused the Deadly East River Helicopter Crash?

New York City: What Caused the Deadly East River Helicopter Crash?

Brian McDaniel was one of five passengers who died in the helicopter crash Sunday evening March 11, 2018, while on vacation in NY.

The chopper plunged into the waterway after pilot Richard Vance made a "Mayday" appeal for help, citing engine failure.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration on Twitter, the Eurocopter AS350, an aircraft owned by Liberty Helicopters, crashed just after 7 p.m.

The NTSB is working to determine the exact cause. Two other passengers died weeks later as a result of their injuries. The other three passengers, who had to be cut from the helicopter's safety harnesses, were declared dead at the hospital.

Authorities said that the safety harnesses in the helicopter that were created to protect passengers meant they were unable to free themselves and escape the aircraft.

Officer Brian McDaniel who died in the helicopter crash.

FlyNYON did not immediately respond to messages from Vertical seeking comment.

Witnesses to Sunday's crash said the helicopter was flying noisily, then suddenly dropped and quickly submerged. Passengers were rescued by nearby boaters and no one was injured.

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The helicopter that went down is consistent with the kind of helicopter often used for aerial tours in the city, an FAA official told CBS News transportation correspondent Kris Van Cleave. A passenger on board a sister flight operated by FlyNyon Sunday night said the company showed a safety video but didn't physically demonstrate how to escape the harnesses.

Another bystander, Susan Larkin, told the Associated Press she went down to see rescue boats in the river and a police helicopter circling overhead, hovering low over the water.

"I saw it coming down toward the water".

"They were both very excited about the flight; they were trying to figure out the best selfies for their cameras", Adams said. "All he has to do is pull up one lever and the seatbelt comes apart, and he's practiced getting in and out of the aircraft hundreds and hundreds of times and knows exactly how to do that". "My thoughts are with those killed", Magers said.

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. "When you're anchored at your shoulder blade, you can't reach that".

Another Liberty helicopter carrying eight people on a sightseeing tour in 2007 had to make an emergency landing on the Hudson after one of its main rotor blades fractured in mid-flight. "Sully" Sullenberger glided his US Airways Charlotte-bound plane to safety in the icy waters of the Hudson River, expertly evacuating passengers and crew members.

Commercial helicopters typically have the switch in case the engine catches fire, according to Jeremy Conley, a flight instructor at Helicopter Flight Training Ronkonkoma, New York.

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