Two tourists, a journalist, and two helicopter employees died in a Sunday night helicopter crash in New York City’s East River. The victims were identified by officials as Dallas firefighter Brian McDaniel, 26; video journalist Trevor Cadigan, 26; tourist Carla Vallejos Blanco, 29; and helicopter employees Tristan Hill, 29, and Daniel Thompson, 34. The sole survivor, pilot Richard Vance, reportedly told investigators that it may have been caused by a piece of luggage. Vance said a passenger’s bag “may have inadvertently hit the emergency fuel shutoff button,” an official told CNN. The Federal Aviation Administration said a team of 14 National Transportation Safety Board officials would be investigating the cause of the crash this week. According to the Liberty Helicopters, the chopper was chartered for “a private photo shoot.” Officials said passengers were so “tightly harnessed” they had to be “cut out” of the craft, while the pilot was able to free himself from the wreckage after calling into LaGuardia Airport saying he was experiencing engine failure. According to WABC, this is Liberty Helicopters’ third helicopter crash in 11 years.
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