Passengers aboard doomed helicopter all drowned

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The National Transportation Safety Board was headed to New York Monday trying to determine the cause of the crash. It killed everyone aboard except the pilot, who managed to free himself as the helicopter flipped over and rapidly sank into the water.

Witnesses on a nearby waterfront esplanade said the helicopter was flying noisily, then suddenly dropped and quickly submerged.

Mike Isler, an aerial technician, said he has worked with Liberty Helicopters to schedule more than 50 flights over the last 10 years for a variety of film-production jobs.

As the helicopter fell Vance radioed, "Mayday". Flightradar.com, a flight-tracking website, shows the aircraft passing by the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge before the flight ended in the middle of the East River just after 7 p.m. It also directed all press to the FAA and NTSB.

In all, the FAA has documented 16 accidents or incidents involving Liberty Helicopters since 1995.

"The floats did inflate as you may have seen from the helicopter being pulled up".

This is the company's third crash in 11 years, according to CNN affiliate WABC-TV. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said. "We will be looking at other sister helicopters, we'll be looking at this helicopter to see whether the harnesses were functioning and whether the passengers were using them".

The open-door helicopter tour in which five people died in a crash landing in the East River off Manhattan on Sunday was operating under safety restrictions reserved for photography flights that are looser than those for commercial air-tour rides. The current carried the copter downstream at about 3.5 miles per hour.

A private tugboat was the first vessel on scene. Police chief James O'Neill said the aircraft had been leased by photographers.

"I saw it coming down toward the water".

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The victims have been identified as Brian McDaniel and Trevor Cadigan from Texas, Argentine tourist Carla Vellejos Blanco, Tristian Hill and Daniel Thompson. All five passengers died, the pilot survived.

"Basically, the mayor lied", Dellaportas said.

McDaniel was a firefighter in Dallas who'd gone to high school with Cadigan and was in NY visiting him over the weekend, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported.

The accord only applies to the heliport near Wall Street operated by the city's Economic Development Corp.

The passengers were on a Liberty Helicopters chopper that had been chartered for a private photo shoot, authorities said.

FlyNYON touts the safety of its flights. A spokesperson provided a statement reading, "We extend our deepest sympathies to the family members and loved ones of those involved in this tragic event".

"It's a great tragedy that we had occur here on an otherwise quiet Sunday evening", Nigro said.

John J. Magers filmed the crash as it took place and posted the video on Twitter.

"Anybody with an iPhone can be a photographer for the goal of these tours", Dellaportas said. "These guys are complete outlaws".

"It was sinking really fast", witness Mary Lee, 66, told the New York Post. He was on vacation in NY with a friend.

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