NTSB to investigate Manhattan helicopter crash
Helicopter crash in Manhattan’s East River kills all 5 passengers. Pilot is the only survivor.
A haunting Instagram video made by one of the victims of the East River helicopter crash records the last moments before the helicopter plunged into the New York City waterway, killing five of the six people on board.
The video was taken by Trevor Cadigan, 26, of Dallas, according to his brother-in-law, Travis Howard, who spoke with the Washington Post. The New York Post, citing sources, identified some of the other victims as 26-year-old Brian McDaniel, also of Dallas, Argentine Carla Vallejos-Blanco, 29, and a 34-year-old man from New York City.
A still image from an Instagram video appears to show the final moments before Sunday’s helicopter crash in New York’s East River.
One of the men in the video is to see it flashing a thumbs up as the helicopter takes off, in the midst of the sunset.
Investigators on Monday were looking into whether one of the passenger’s bag may have accidentally hit the fuel exit button of the doomed helicopter.
“Mayday, mayday, mayday,” Richard Vance, the 33-year-old pilot, called over his radio seconds before going down in the crash Sunday night. “East River engine failure!”
The cause of the crash is not yet known. It is reportedly the third crash in the past 11 years with the company.
“It took a while for the divers to these people. They worked very quickly, as fast as they could,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. “It was a great tragedy that we had here.”
The passengers were restored shortly after the helicopter went into the water around 7:06 a.m., Police and fire brigade divers had to remove them from the tight harness while upside down, Nigro added.
@cnn @FoxNews just witnessed a helicopter crash in the East River .. hope everyone is ok. Caught on tape! pic.twitter.com/saHOMTLR69
— JJ Magers (@JJmagers) March 11, 2018
Three of the passengers listed in critical condition after he was rushed to the nearby hospitals, where they later died. Two were pronounced dead at the scene and police said the pilot himself liberated and was saved by a passing tugboat.
Officials said that the water Sunday night, it was cold, with temperatures around 40 degrees.
Video posted on Twitter of the crash turned out to be a red helicopter land hard in the river and then flip on its side as the rotors hit the water.
Police sources told the New York Post, the helicopter was flown by Vance, a native of Danbury, Connecticut.
“He is a very good pilot,” his father, Anthony Vance, told the newspaper, adding he has flown “for many years” with a commercial pilot’s license.
The pilot of the helicopter, Richard Vance, after the emergence of the cold waters of New York’s East River on Sunday night.
(Courtesy Of New York Post)
A LinkedIn page apparently belonging to Vance said that he has been employed by Liberty Helicopters since April 2016.
The group of five passengers, who officials said were flying as part of one of the tours were private Eurocopter AS350 for a photo shoot when it crashed.
“We are focused on the support of the families affected by this tragic accident and to cooperate fully with the FAA and the NTSB investigations,” Freedom Helicopters told Fox News in a statement.
The company says on its website it has been in business since 1990 and offers unparalleled safety records and a commitment to customer service.”
But Sunday’s crash is the third involving Liberty Helicopters in the past 11 years, according to reports.
March 11, 2018: Yellow buoys that a New York police officer, said his suspension from a helicopter that crashed in the East River float next to a NYPD police boat on a pier in New York.
In 2009, a sightseeing helicopter of the same model, and operated by Liberty Helicopters, collided with a small private plane over the Hudson River, killing nine people, including a group of Italian tourists, the Associated Press reported.
Two years earlier, one of the company helicopters, carrying eight people fell into the Hudson River, but everyone was able to escape, according to WABC.
A witness told the New York Post they looked Sunday crash unfold from her apartment window, and “I immediately thought someone was not going to live.”
“By the time we are here, we could not see [the helicopter],” Mary Lee said. “It was under water.”
Another witness, Arineh Nazarian, described the helicopter crash while she and others were eating dinner.
“We have noticed that a red helicopter at full speed in the direction of the water,” Nazarian told WABC. “It almost looked very surreal and next thing we know that it is approaching the water slowly and then it just completely crashed and sank.”
The sky above New York city constantly a buzz with helicopters transporting tourists, business people, traffic, reporters, medical teams, and others. Crashes are not unheard of.
A crash in October 2011 in the East River killed a British woman visiting the city for her 40th birthday. Three other occupants were injured.
In June 2005, two helicopters crashed into the East River in the same week. An incident injured eight people, including some bank officers. The other crash hit the water shortly after take-off on a sightseeing flight, injuring six tourists and the pilot.
Fox News’ Edmund Initiative, Nicole, Darrah, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.