According to a statement released this morning, the NTSB is continuing its investigation of the crash of an Airbus AS350B2 helicopter in New York City’s East River. The accident occurred on Sunday, injuring the pilot and killing all five passengers on board. The aerial photography flight was operated by Liberty Helicopters.
The helicopter experienced an engine failure during flight. Though the cause of the failure is still unknown, there have been reports of the pilot stating that one of the passenger’s bags might have hit the emergency fuel shutoff. The NTSB says that it has been able to recover a video camera and a flight data recorder, as well as the helicopter itself. Examination and analysis of the helicopter and recovered technology is already underway. Investigators will also interview the accident pilot, witnesses and rescue personnel.
There are reports that the passengers were not belted in their seats with conventional seat belts but, rather, were tied in with harnesses and photographing New York through the open side doors of the helicopter. These harnesses are used by aerial photographers when they shoot though open doors. No word yet from the NTSB about how this factor, or the open doors themselves, might have affected the tragic outcome.
Learn more at the NTSB.