Eric Adams was a passenger on another helicopter during the time of the crash. He says it would have been very difficult to escape the safety harness after the crash.
WASHINGTON â€“ The pilot of an open-door tour helicopter that crashed in New York City and killed five passengers told federal investigators that the fuel supply was cut off, with part of a passengerâ€™s restraint underneath the switch, according to report Monday.
The pilot, Richard Vance, told investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board that he moved to switch the fuel switch off because the helicopter was going down on March 11, but it was already off.
He then tried turning it back on and restarting the engine, but it was too late, according to the NTSBâ€™s preliminary report about the crash.
The report comes to no conclusions about what caused the crash or how it might have been prevented. The full investigation could take a year or longer.
The five passengers who died in the crash were each wearing harnesses that might have hindered their escape from the helicopter once it was in the East River.
The Federal Aviation Administration has already ordered a temporary halt to open-door helicopter tours effective March 22, until a method is devised for passengers to fly with restraints that donâ€™t need to be cut in an emergency.
The pilot for Liberty Helicopter Tours told investigators he had checked the passengersâ€™ harnesses and pointed out to them in a pre-flight briefing where the cutting tool was located, for use in an emergency. But the five passengers were unable to escape after the crash.
The harnesses werenâ€™t installed by the manufacturer of the Eurocopter AS350 B2, but were off-the-shelf nylon harnesses attached to each occupantâ€™s back by a locking carabiner to a lanyard, investigators said.
At one point over the east side of Central Park, the pilot told investigators he noticed the front-seat passengerâ€™s restraint was hanging from the seat and he told him to put it back on, which he did.
While they were flying along the park, the pilot said the front-seat passenger turned sideways, slid across the double-bench seat toward the pilot, leaned back and extended his feet to take a picture of them outside the helicopter.
As the pilot began a right turn, the nose turned faster than expected, he told investigators. Engine-pressure and fuel-pressure warning lights came on. The pilot said he attempted to restart the engine, but was unsuccessful.
A helicopter that crashed Sunday evening in Manhattan’s East River, killing all five passengers aboard, has been pulled from the water. The NTSB tweeted that the helicopter is being taken to a secure facility for further examination. (March 12)
When he â€œcommitted to impact,â€ the pilot told investigators he reached down for the emergency-fuel shutoff lever and realized it was already in the off position. â€œHe also noted that a portion of the front-seat passengerâ€™s tether was underneath the lever,â€ the report said.
Another element to the investigation involves floats on the helicopterâ€™s landing skids that are designed to keep the aircraft afloat on the water. Investigators said an initial examination of the floats found those on the left side appeared more inflated than those on the right.
The pilot told investigators he deployed the floats at about 800 feet in the air, after deciding there were â€œtoo many peopleâ€ in Central Park to land there and instead heading to the East River.
The helicopter quickly filled with water and rolled into the river after landing, with the pilot telling investigators he was fully underwater by the time he released his own restraint and got out.
The pilot told investigators the tour had gone past the Statue of Liberty at 300 to 500 feet in the air, past the Brooklyn Bridge at 500 feet and then up the east side of Central Park.
More: FAA bans open-door helicopter flights after New York City crash
More: Grand Canyon helicopter crash: British brothers, fiancee were on ‘trip of a lifetime’
A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.
- 1 of 9
- 2 of 9
- 3 of 9
- 4 of 9
- 5 of 9
- 6 of 9
- 7 of 9
- 8 of 9
- 9 of 9