Manhattan Helicopter Crash Kills Five, Pilot Sole Survivor

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Anders Hagstrom Justice Reporter
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Five people died in a Manhattan helicopter crash Sunday night when the pilot lost control of his aircraft due to an engine failure – he was the sole survivor.

The sight-seeing helicopter went down in the East River with six people including the pilot, CNN reported. The pilot alone was able to escape his harnesses and rescuers were unable to save the passengers. Three were brought to a local hospital with “critical injuries,” but were later pronounced dead, according to FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro.

“One of the most difficult parts of the rescue were that five people were tightly harnessed,” Nigro said. “People had to be cut out.”

The pilot, who remains unnamed, can be heard sending a mayday call to LaGuardia Airport moments before the crash, saying he was experiencing an engine failure. A bystander also filmed the crash, showing the Liberty Helicopters craft sinking slowly into the river.


This was the third crash in 11 years for Liberty Helicopters. Nine people were killed in a 2009 crash, and eight others went down in a 2007 crash but were able to survive, according to ABC 7 NY.

The FAA is bringing in investigators to look into the incident Monday. They will determine whether the pilot has any fault in the crash and whether he responded correctly to the reported engine failure.

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