Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Helicopter crash kills five

A Liberty Helicopter's Eurocopter AS 350 crashed in the Manhattan’s East River near Roosevelt Island, New York killing all 5 passengers on Sunday night. The pilot, who managed to free himself from the overturned chopper and swim to a rescue boat, told investigators that one of the passenger's bags may have inadvertently hit the emergency fuel shutoff button, causing the fatal crash.
Following a loss of engine power, the aircraft auto rotated to the waters of the East River in Manhattan’s Upper East Side in New York. The tour helicopter had floats deployed before water contact, rolled to the right on contact and shortly after sank.
"Mayday... Mayday... Mayday... East River engine failure!" the pilot said during a distress call moments before losing control of the helicopter and plummeting into the water.

Two of the five passengers died at the scene and the other three were taken to local hospitals where they later died, a spokesman for the New York City Police spokesman confirmed. The pilot helicopter received minor injuries.
New York Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro called it a "great tragedy". "We are told the five people were all tied tightly in harnesses that had to be cut and removed," he said. It took a while for the divers to get these people out. They worked very quickly, as fast as they could. The helicopter sank to 50ft [15m] of water," a spokesman said, adding that "they also had to work against currents and water temperatures of below 4C." At 4C cold shock on immersion is highly likely.

There have been at least 11 other fatal crashes worldwide involving AS350 variants over the last 18 months. Sunday's crash is likely the biggest U.S. civil aviation fatality since a Dec. 2016 Cessna crash in Ohio. From what I could research Helicopter crashes in the East and Hudson rivers aren't necessarily uncommon, but Sunday's crash has become one of the deadliest in the city's history. 

Aircraft Information
Aircraft: Eurocopter AS 350B2 Ecureuil
Operator: Liberty Helicopters
Flight Number: 
Registration: N350LH
Serial Number: 7654

Thoughts and prays go out to the immediate families and their friends and of course the staff at Liberty Helicopters.

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