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Thread: NYC helicopter crash in East River

  1. #1
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    Default NYC helicopter crash in East River

    A helicopter crashed into the East River in New York City on Sunday night, killing all five passengers aboard. The only survivor was the pilot.
    All of the passengers had been strapped into their seats in tight harnesses, and the pilot was the only person able to free himself from the downed aircraft, according to officials of the Fire Department of New York.The passengers were on a private charter for a photo shoot being run by Liberty Helicopter Tours, New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill at a news conference Sunday.Here’s what we know about the fatal crash so far:
    The aircraft went down shortly before 7 p.m. just south of 86th St. in the middle of the river near Roosevelt Island, O’Neill said.
    A private tugboat was the first to arrive on the scene of the crash and assisted in the response. A search and rescue response began immediately. The NYPD, FDNY and the U.S. Coast Guard all responded to the incident.
    An investigation into the deadly crash is being conducted the National Transportation Safety Board, said O’Neill.

    It is unclear exactly why the helicopter crashed, but NBC 4 New York reported that the pilot issued a distress call minutes before the crash, saying “Mayday…mayday…mayday…East River engine failure!”
    Witnesses who saw the helicopter plummet from the sky said it looked like it was “flying too fast and descending too quickly,” according to the New York Times. After hitting the water, the helicopter tipped over and flipped upside down, the witnesses described. One witness said they saw the pilot climb on the submerged helicopter and shout for help, the Times reported.

    The pilot was identified as Richard Vance, 33, according to NBC 4 New York. None of the victims identities have been released. Vance was taken to the hospital and released later Sunday night, said Nigro.
    Officials said the passengers were on a sightseeing photoshoot and had taken off from Kearney, New Jersey. "One of the most difficult parts of the operation…is the 5 people besides the pilot were all tightly harnessed,” New York Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said Sunday night. “So these harnesses had to be cut and removed to in order to get these folks off of this helicopter which was upside down at the time and completely submerged.”

    Nigro said that three of the passengers were removed by divers from the helicopter in critical condition and taken to the hospital, where they did not survive, and two of the passengers were pronounced dead on the scene.
    “It took a while for the divers to get these people out,” he said. “They worked very quickly, as fast as they could. That’s 50 ft. of water there, there was a 4 mile an hour current, the temperature was below 40s.”

    http://time.com/5195302/new-york-cit...sh-east-river/

    This morning on television news it is reported that the pilot said that loose luggage hit an emergency fuel cut-off switch, killing the engine.

    If so, why is such a switch not protected? Why is loose luggage allowed near such a switch? And why did rescuers have to cut the passengers out of their "tight" harnesses? No quick release belt buckles? And why did the helicopter's emergency flotation not prevent an immediate capsize? Indeed, the flotation seemed to contribute to the capsize.



  2. #2
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    Default Re: NYC helicopter crash in East River

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Nolan View Post
    A helicopter crashed into the East River in New York City on Sunday night, killing all five passengers aboard. The only survivor was the pilot.
    All of the passengers had been strapped into their seats in tight harnesses, and the pilot was the only person able to free himself from the downed aircraft, according to officials of the Fire Department of New York.The passengers were on a private charter for a photo shoot being run by Liberty Helicopter Tours, New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill at a news conference Sunday.Here’s what we know about the fatal crash so far:
    The aircraft went down shortly before 7 p.m. just south of 86th St. in the middle of the river near Roosevelt Island, O’Neill said.
    A private tugboat was the first to arrive on the scene of the crash and assisted in the response. A search and rescue response began immediately. The NYPD, FDNY and the U.S. Coast Guard all responded to the incident.
    An investigation into the deadly crash is being conducted the National Transportation Safety Board, said O’Neill.

    It is unclear exactly why the helicopter crashed, but NBC 4 New York reported that the pilot issued a distress call minutes before the crash, saying “Mayday…mayday…mayday…East River engine failure!”
    Witnesses who saw the helicopter plummet from the sky said it looked like it was “flying too fast and descending too quickly,” according to the New York Times. After hitting the water, the helicopter tipped over and flipped upside down, the witnesses described. One witness said they saw the pilot climb on the submerged helicopter and shout for help, the Times reported.

    The pilot was identified as Richard Vance, 33, according to NBC 4 New York. None of the victims identities have been released. Vance was taken to the hospital and released later Sunday night, said Nigro.
    Officials said the passengers were on a sightseeing photoshoot and had taken off from Kearney, New Jersey. "One of the most difficult parts of the operation…is the 5 people besides the pilot were all tightly harnessed,” New York Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said Sunday night. “So these harnesses had to be cut and removed to in order to get these folks off of this helicopter which was upside down at the time and completely submerged.”

    Nigro said that three of the passengers were removed by divers from the helicopter in critical condition and taken to the hospital, where they did not survive, and two of the passengers were pronounced dead on the scene.
    “It took a while for the divers to get these people out,” he said. “They worked very quickly, as fast as they could. That’s 50 ft. of water there, there was a 4 mile an hour current, the temperature was below 40s.”

    http://time.com/5195302/new-york-cit...sh-east-river/

    This morning on television news it is reported that the pilot said that loose luggage hit an emergency fuel cut-off switch, killing the engine.

    If so, why is such a switch not protected? Why is loose luggage allowed near such a switch? And why did rescuers have to cut the passengers out of their "tight" harnesses? No quick release belt buckles? And why did the helicopter's emergency flotation not prevent an immediate capsize? Indeed, the flotation seemed to contribute to the capsize.


    I read that the helicopter was hired for a photo shoot and that the doors had been taken off for better use of cameras. That was why the passengers were so tightly strapped in. Pilot might be talking about loose camera gear (there might have been a lot of it).
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: NYC helicopter crash in East River

    I've had hundreds of helicopter escape training session, with about 20 underwater, upside down, in 20C deg water. Always had a 4 point harness and a re-breather life jacket which gives you about 30 seconds of extra time once you are submerged. I doubt if I could get out in real life, in real temperatures, amidst everybodys, and my own panic though.

    I thought choppers that fly over water had inflatable sponsons that deploy on contact with water to prevent roll over in calm water. Doesn't seem to be the case here.

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    Default Re: NYC helicopter crash in East River

    The video seems to show that the inflatable floats or sponsons had been deployed before hitting the water. But the helicopter tipped over sideways almost at once and then turned turtle, with the inflated floats the only thing above water.

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    Default Re: NYC helicopter crash in East River

    Reassuring

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    Default Re: NYC helicopter crash in East River

    Last time I was a passenger it was in a Jet Ranger. The belts were no more difficult than on an airliner.
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    Default Re: NYC helicopter crash in East River

    Pilot is reporting that a piece of luggage struck an emergency fuel shut off valve.

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/11/us/ne...ent/index.html

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    Last edited by Jim Bow; 03-12-2018 at 03:26 PM.
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    Default Re: NYC helicopter crash in East River

    This morning on television news it is reported that the pilot said that loose luggage hit an emergency fuel cut-off switch, killing the engine.

    If so, why is such a switch not protected?

    It is and quite well. See that red handle below the yellow rotor brake handle? That's the emergency fuel shutoff handle. This aircraft even has a Plexiglas barrier to keep things away from those levers. How you'd get anything tangled in that is a very good question. As for a SWITCH? I can't find one but I don't know A-Stars well at all. The red covered switch on the collective is the Emergency Hydraulic Cutoff Switch. The pilot can quickly turn off the hydraulic boost if it malfunctions without releasing the controls - a very good feature.

    On Bell helicopters, the fuel switch a large handled switch on the console protected by a guard and you have to pull up on the switch to move it. It's the one with the red guard in this pic. The big red triangle is the Emergency Manual Governor Switch. A unique shape so if you're in the dark, in a hurry or whatever, you don't accidentally flip the wrong switch - especially THIS one. The large yellow switch is the Hydraulic Cutoff Switch - another "pull up to switch off" safety measure but you have to release the collective to operate it.



    And why did rescuers have to cut the passengers out of their "tight" harnesses? No quick release belt buckles?

    Seatbelt/shoulder harness release is REALLY simple. Pull the tab and out you go. Tragic they didn't get out, but there's nothing complicated about the system... though panic never helps in any situation.



    And why did the helicopter's emergency flotation not prevent an immediate capsize? Indeed, the flotation seemed to contribute to the capsize.

    Consider the CG - all the weight, literally ALL of it, is WELL above the floats. It's quit common for a water landing to result in going turtle though not as quickly as this one did. Without the floats, it sinks like a rock.

    The best statement I've seen from this latest carnage came from a student who lived through it -

    "My generation will not allow this to continue!"

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    Default Re: NYC helicopter crash in East River

    I read that the helicopter was hired for a photo shoot and that the doors had been taken off for better use of cameras. That was why the passengers were so tightly strapped in.
    I'm in a helicopter shooting boats regularly. We fly with the doors off, lean out the door, and and wear a climbing harness secured to a hardpoint in the helicopter. The report indicates they were on a, " photo shoot," which may mean they were similarly harnessed.

    Here's a screen shot from some GoPro video I shot during one of our shoots. You can see the harness. It's tight on the body but tethered on a about a five foot leash to the helicopter so the shooter can move. If they were pros, they would no their own gear. If they were new at it, they might have been unfamiliar with whatever the pilot provided. In any case, as JoP stated, in an emergency, things are different.


    Screen Shot 2018-03-12 at 6.14.12 PM.jpg

    Kevin
    Last edited by Breakaway; 03-12-2018 at 05:19 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: NYC helicopter crash in East River

    Kevin, how does your harness connect/disconnect from the aircraft? Can you pop out of it or must it be disconnected from the far end of the strap?

    BTW, in a ditching situation, it is normal procedure to jettison the doors. Makes exit that much simpler and quicker.
    The best statement I've seen from this latest carnage came from a student who lived through it -

    "My generation will not allow this to continue!"

    Remember voting age is 18. Read it and weep reds.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: NYC helicopter crash in East River

    From Washington Post

    Because the helicopter was flown with the doors off, passengers wore harnesses that went over their shoulders and between their legs, Adams said. On their back, between their shoulder blades, was a metal ring attached to a carabiner and tethered to the floor.

    “You’re in there, you’re anchored,” Adams said. “You can lean out as far as you want, and you’re not going to fall out of the helicopter. But you’re also belted in.”

    He added: “There’s no way those people could’ve gotten out of the helicopter. Not with the training they had. Not even me, and this is my third time … When you’re anchored at your shoulder blade, you can’t reach that.”

  12. #12
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    Default Re: NYC helicopter crash in East River

    This was a tourist helicopter flight. First time for each passenger. Helicopter rold and sank in seconds. Panic plus the shock ov a crash and 40°F water.
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    Default Re: NYC helicopter crash in East River

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    Default Re: NYC helicopter crash in East River

    Kevin, how does your harness connect/disconnect from the aircraft? Can you pop out of it or must it be disconnected from the far end of the strap?
    We almost always book a Bell Jet Ranger and there is a D-shaped handle/ hardpoint between the back of the two front seats; the two front seat frames are also bolted in.

    You pop out of the harness from your body; you can unsnap the large Caribiner at one end of the tether attached to the helicopter or release the tether from the harness end. We also carry knives.

    Edit: Here is another photog I work with, wearing a different kind of harness than shown in the first image . ( I know, a Robinson is shown, but the guys typically prefer a Jet Ranger.)

    Screen Shot 2018-03-12 at 10.51.29 PM.jpg

    BTW, in a ditching situation, it is normal procedure to jettison the doors. Makes exit that much simpler and quicker.
    We have been told repeatedly to wait maybe 20 seconds before bailing; let the rotors hit the water and stop first.


    Kevin

    Kevin
    Last edited by Breakaway; 03-12-2018 at 09:57 PM.
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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    Default Re: NYC helicopter crash in East River

    Quote Originally Posted by John of Phoenix View Post

    BTW, in a ditching situation, it is normal procedure to jettison the doors. Makes exit that much simpler and quicker.
    In North Sea helicopter operations the training is to push out the windows, NEVER the doors, as the windows are above the water level. Large windows are installed for this purpose, but frankly the size of some of the blokes that fly on them makes this operation optimistic.

    We all use a 4 point harness that connects to a single wheel attachment near your belly button, 2 shoulder straps, 2 waist straps, turn the wheel and all 4 release.

    The sponsons in the pic above are in the wrong place, they should be at the side of the fuselage. They would only keep the aircraft right side up in calm water however, unlikely the N Sea.

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