(Photo by Xinhua/Sipa USA)

ME Says All Five Passengers Drowned In East River Helicopter Crash

March 13, 2018 - 12:43 pm

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- The NYC Medical examiner said all five passengers on board a Liberty tour helicopter drowned.

The NTSB is investigating Sunday night's fatal helicopter crash in the East River that claimed the lives of Daniel Nathan, 34, Tristan Hill, 29, Trevor Cadigan, 26, Brian McDaniel 26 and Carla Vallejos Blanco, 29.

As the chopper fell from the sky, an aviation expert told the New York Post that pilot Richard Vance put it down on the water perfectly, only to have it flip over and trap his passengers.

The NTSB's Bella Zindar said that is an area of interest.

"When floats do inflate, there are times when the helicopter still will not necessarily stay afloat. So, we're going to look into that," she said.

Investigators also want to look at the passengers' cameras to see if video exists.

According to officials briefed on the investigation, Vance said he began to notice signs of engine trouble and thought about landing at first in Central Park before ultimately deciding to put down in the East River.

Vance told authorities he didn't know what was wrong, until he realized that a tether from one of his passengers harnesses was strangling a fuel switch and that is what lead to the engine trouble.

An aviation expert told the Post that was unlikely.