NEW YORK – A firefighter, a journalist, a young Argentine tourist and two other people were killed in a helicopter crash in New York, which occurred on Sunday and was recovered on Monday, official sources reported.
The flight’s pilot, Richard Vance, 33, was the only survivor of the incident.
The helicopter fell into the waters of the East River at around 7:00 pm local time (2300 GMT) on Sunday, after taking off from Kearny, a town in the neighboring state of New Jersey.
New York Police identified the victims as Brian McDaniel, a 26-year-old firefighter from Dallas; Trevor Cadigan, 26, video journalist; Carla Vallejos, 29, an Argentine tourist; as well as Tristan Hill, 29, and Daniel Thompson, 34, both of which were employees of the company in charge of the flight.
Bella Dinh-Zarr, spokesperson for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said in a press briefing that the helicopter, a Eurocopter AS350, was flying with six people on board: a pilot and five other passengers, who booked the flight to take pictures of New York.
Ding-Zarr added that the pilot reported engine failure.
“Our mission is to understand not just what happened, but why it happened so we can prevent it from happening again,” the spokesperson said.
She also confirmed that the helicopter was recovered on Monday afternoon from the river and will undergo a thorough examination process.
A multidisciplinary team set up for the investigation will be inspecting the scene of the incident for five to seven days.
The trip was organized by Liberty Tours, a sightseeing company running photo tours on helicopters around New York.
The leader of the Senate Democrats, Chuck Schumer, asked the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) to issue an emergency order to suspend the license of Liberty Tours as the company has been involved in three accidents in the last 11 years.
It was confirmed from Argentina that Carla Vallejos was a native of the northeastern province of Corrientes and that she was in New York on vacation with a friend.