Bag may have hit fuel switch before copter crash in NYC

Bag may have hit fuel switch before copter crash in NYC

NEW YORK (AP) - The pilot who survived a helicopter crash that killed his five passengers told authorities he believed a passenger's bag might have hit an emergency fuel shutoff switch in the moments before the chopper went down, a federal official told The Associated Press on Monday.

Nigro and Police Commissioner James O'Neill said the rescue operation Sunday took place in a 4 miles per hour current in water about 50 feet (15 meters) deep, under challenging conditions.

Eric Adams, from western Pennsylvania, was some of the last people to see the victims of the doomed helicopter flight alive.

John Dellaportas, president of a group that has advocated for restrictions on helicopter flights around the city, said safety of the flights is a major issue.

The cause of the crash is not yet known but the National Transportation Safety Board has launched an investigation.

Cuenca del Plata University in Argentina said she studied art, design and communications.

ABC News reported that the pilot had told investigators that a passenger's gear might have interfered with the chopper's operation.

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The company referred inquiries to authorities, saying it was focused on the victims' families and the investigation.

Based on footage of the crash that has been posted to social media, no floats engaged when the helicopter hit the water, suggesting that it either was not equipped with them, or they failed to activate, causing the helicopter to tip over, ultimately drowning the passengers trapped inside.

The victims were all between 26 years old and 34 years old, the New York City Police Department said.

"There are a whole lot of questions about this crash", he said. Two of the five passengers were pronounced dead at the scene and the other three were hospitalized in critical condition before succumbing to their injuries. The FAA determined that the helicopter, with nine passengers on board, should have been maintaining a lower altitude to avoid the crash. A company safety message promises customers the harnesses, "go beyond industry safety standards" and help ensure "the best and safest experience possible".

The NYC Ferry said late Sunday on Twitter that service on the Astoria and East River routes was now suspended until further notice because of the helicopter crash. 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. Another passenger flashed a thumbs up.

Jonny Rolling, hired by Hill to work at Hill's club, says, "Tristan didn't just casually support me and my music; he made a personal and emotional investment in me that he shared with everyone he knew".

A crash in October 2011 in the East River killed a British woman visiting the city for her 40th birthday. The company operates a fleet of 10 helicopters and has been in business for more than 30 years.

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