Five dead in NY river helicopter crash

Marine units are seen on the East River on Sunday night looking east toward Queens

The five passengers trapped in a helicopter that ditched into the East River off NY on Sunday night may have died because they were wearing hard-to-remove harnesses.

The Dallas Fire-Rescue Department confirmed that Fire-Rescue Officer Brian McDaniel died in the crash.

Among the dead were Dallas firefighter Brian McDaniel and his friend, journalist Trevor Cadigan, both 26.

On Company videos "FlyNyon" advertises their "8-point safety harnesses" specially created to keep passengers securely strapped to the helicopter, allowing them to dangle from the doorless craft snapping photos hundreds of feet above New York City.

The pilot of the Liberty Helicopters" flight has been taken to hospital "for observation'.

The pilot was experiencing engine failure just before he lost control, sources said.

Pilot Richard Vance was able to free himself and was rescued by a tugboat.

R. Communications not responsible for video or audio content.
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FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the rescue was hampered by the fact that the passengers were tightly harnessed.

After Adams and the others landed back at the terminal in New Jersey, his pilot told him that the other helicopter had crashed in the East River. Another passenger flashed a thumbs up. "They died because they drowned, whether they were trapped and couldn't get their harnesses undone". Witnesses said the helicopter was flying noisily before dropping to the river.

The helicopter crashed into the East River near Roosevelt Island, located near the Mayor of New York's official residence. But an August 2009 collision over the Hudson River between a Liberty chopper and a small private plane killed nine people, including a group of Italian tourists.

ABC News reported that the helicopter entered the water around East 86th Street, near Manhattan's Upper East Side. "We will not be determining probable cause or speculate what may have caused this accident".

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.

"It's cold water. It was sinking really fast", said Mary Lee, 66. One injured eight people including some banking executives.

Fire and police teams worked in below-40-degree temperatures and 50-foot-deep water with 4-mph currents to remove the passengers from the helicopter, said Nigro, the fire commissioner.

The National Transport Safety Board was leading the investigation into the crash.

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