2 dead after helicopter crashes in NYC's East River

A helicopter is seen crashed in New York City's East River

A helicopter is seen crashed in New York City's East River

Vance told investigators a passenger's bag may have accidentally activated the helicopter's emergency fuel shutoff switch, CNN and NY1, a NY cable news channel, reported, citing unnamed law enforcement officials. The helicopter did not sink and has been secured.

The New York City Fire Department tweeted that its members were with police at the location near 91st Street in Manhattan.

McDaniel was a fire rescue officer for Dallas Fire-Rescue who had been hired in May 2016, the department said in a statement.

"Despite his short tenure, hearts are heavy with grief", the department said in a statement.

Cadigan had recently graduated from SMU and was in NY to begin a career with Business Insider, according to WFAA TV.

His profile on the site says he was originally from Dallas.

Also killed in the crash was Cadigan, a former WFAA intern and the son of longtime WFAA Production Manager Jerry Cadigan. He made a mayday call to LaGuardia Airport saying that the aircraft experienced engine failure. "East River - engine failure".

Emergency divers had to remove the passengers from tight harnesses while they were upside down.

"It took a while for the divers to get these people out", Nigro said at a briefing.

The official said it was not clear exactly when yellow inflatable pontoons on the helicopter began inflating and why they did not keep the helicopter afloat. "We don't have a great deal to report yet, but will provide regular updates".

The National Transportation Safety Board was headed to New York Monday trying to determine the cause of the crash.

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Richards says once that lever is pulled, it can't be reset unless you leave the chopper and do so yourself.

The cause of the crash has not been determined.

Video showed the pilot appearing to try and land the craft in the water, where it floundered and flipped on its side with the rotors spinning violently.

A pilot can free themselves by pulling one lever inside the aircraft, however the passengers all had harnesses that tied them inside with more than a usual seat belt since the group was on a photography mission with the doors removed.

"It was sinking really fast", witness Mary Lee, 66, told the New York Post.

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

Vance, 33, a pilot for Liberty Helicopter tours, radioed "Mayday!"

Other questions have been raised about the helicopter itself, which should have been equipped with floats when operating around water.

A number of plane and helicopter crashes over New York City's East River and Hudson River have claimed lives in the past several years.

Xinran Jiang witnessed the crash from her bedroom window. All five passengers died.

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