Passenger’s luggage may have caused helicopter crash that killed 5 in NY’s East River

Five people were killed when a helicopter plunged into the East River Sunday evening, according to officials, and reportedly a passenger's luggage may have been responsible.


  1. Update Mar 12, 2018 2:10 PM EDT: An unidentified source told WPIX that the victims in Sunday's deadly helicopter crash in New York were two 26-year-old men from Dallas, a 29-year-old woman from Argentina, a 34-year-old man from New York and a 29-year-old man from New York.

    The helicopter's pilot, identified by WPIX as 33-year-old Richard Vance, survived the accident.

    Authorities continue to investigate the crash.
  2. Update Mar 12, 2018 10:34 AM EDT: The pilot of a helicopter that crashed Sunday in Manhattan's East River could be heard saying "mayday" in an emergency radio transmission obtained by The Associated Press.

    The pilot, who was earlier identified by WPIX as 33-year-old Richard Vance, said in the transmission that his helicopter had an engine failure.

    Authorities continue to investigate what caused the accident, which killed all five passengers on-board.

    Unidentified sources told several news stations, including CNN, that Vance told investigators he believed a passenger's bags might have accidentally hit the helicopter's emergency shutoff valve.
  3. Update Mar 12, 2018 9:03 AM EDT: An unidentified law enforcement official told CNN that the pilot and lone survivor of Sunday's deadly helicopter crash in the East River told investigators he believes one of the passenger's bags might have accidentally hit the helicopter's emergency fuel shutoff button.

    The helicopter had six people on-board, including the pilot, when it hit the water around 7 p.m. Sunday, according to police.

    Two of the helicopter's passengers were pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said. Three others were taken to a hospital and later pronounced dead, police told multiple news outlets.

    WPIX reported that the helicopter was hired for a photo shoot. It's owned by Liberty Helicopters, a company that offers private charter flights and sightseeing tours, according to the news station.

    The National Transportation Safety Board has been tasked with determining the cause of the crash.
  4. Update Mar 12, 2018 5:24 AM EDT: The pilot of the helicopter and the only survivor of the East River crash has been identified as Richard Vance, ABC News and WPIX report.
  5. Update Mar 12, 2018 1:25 AM EDT: All five passengers from the crash are now dead, CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave tweeted early Monday. The pilot was the only survivor.
  6. ORIGINAL STORY: The helicopter, which had six people on board, went down around 7 p.m., crashing into the water, then capsizing, according to video posted to Twitter.
  7. None of the identities of those on board have been released.
  8. WABC is reporting that two people died in the crash.
  9. WPIX is reporting that there were six people on the helicopter and that three people are in critical condition.
  10. The cause of the crash is unknown. The NYPD and FDNY are on scene. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are also investigating.