Engine failure suspected cause of New York City helicopter crash which killed five passengers
Posted On July 27, 2020
The pilot of a helicopter which crashed killing five people on Sunday night told air traffic controllers that the engine had failed shortly before it plunged into New York’s East River.
His warning was heard on the recording of the Mayday call he made to controllers at LaGuardia airport.
The pilot, named locally as Richard Vance, 33, was the only survivor of the crash. Two of those on board were killed instantly, the other three passengers were rushed to hospital, where they died from their injuries.
A 14-strong team of investigators has been sent to the scene by the National Transportation Safety Board. It is expected to take several months before it announces any preliminary conclusions.
There were unconfirmed reports suggesting the pilot had told investigators that a piece of luggage could have inadvertently hit the emergency fuel shut off button.
But two experts told the Telegraph that this was unlikely, “The Fuel shut off is located on the ceiling and with a guard lock,” said James Healy-Pratt, an aviation lawyer and qualified pilot.
New York helicopter crash journey
“It isn’t a hinged switch, which can be manipulated easily. It is protected with a guard that has to be broken,” said Bob Mann, who runs an aviation consultancy in New York.
Eyewitnesses described seeing the Eurocopter AS350 go down near the northern tip of Roosevelt Island at 7 pm on Sunday night.
“It kind of looked as if it was supposed to be landing, I wasn’t really sure,” said Brianna Jesme. “The moment it landed it was under.”
The passengers were reported to have had chartered the flight for a photoshoot of the Manhattan skyline.
Two of the victims were from Dallas, Texas: Trevor Cadigan, a video journalist and Brian Brian McDaniel, a fireman. A third victim was named as Carla Vallejos Blanco, an Argentinian visitor.
Mr Cadigan shared a video on Instagram taken as the helicopter took off.
@cnn @FoxNews just witnessed a helicopter crash into the East River .. hope everyone’s ok. Caught it all on tape! pic.twitter.com/saHOMTLR69
— JJ Magers (@JJmagers) 11 March 2018
The names of the two others who died have not been released as their families have yet to be informed.