Helicopter down in the East River, officials say

Pilot reported engine failure before deadly helicopter crash

"People had to be cut out", the fire commissioner said. "It was a great tragedy that we had here".

Fire Rescue Officer, Brian McDaniel June 12, 1991 - March 11, 2018 Hired: May 2016 Assigned to Fire Station 36, C-Shift Monday, March 12, 2018, Dallas Fire-Rescue received confirmation that one of its own, Fire-Rescue Officer, Brian McDaniel, tragically lost his life in a helicopter crash while on vacation in NY.

Only the pilot, identified by media outlets as 33-year-old Richard Vance, survived.

The pair went to Bishop Lynch High School together and both graduated in 2010.

The New York Post described the chopper as a "tour helicopter", and reported it plunged into the river near Gracie Mansion. One of the men behind him flashes him a thumbs-up.

Two helicopter employees - Daniel Thompson, 34, and Tristan Hill, 29 (PICTURED) were also killed.

The National Transport Safety Board was leading the investigation into the crash.

It was not immediately clear what caused the crash and the extent of possible injuries.

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Paramedics and members of the NYFD perform CPR on a victim of a helicopter crash in New York, US, March 11, 2018.

Witnesses said it caught their attention because it was traveling faster and at a lower altitude than the helicopters that normally fly along the East River between Manhattan and Queens.

Part of the reason why it took so long to pull their bodies from the sunken wreckage was because they were strapped in with special harnesses that had allowed them to lean out and take pictures of the city while the doors of the helicopter were open. But the pilot appeared on the surface, holding onto a flotation device as the tugboat and then police boats approached. "We've got an engine failure over the East River". "It was under water".

The passengers were on a Liberty Helicopters chopper that had been chartered for a private photo shoot, authorities said. Owner Liberty Helicopters is referring all inquiries to investigators. The company operates a fleet of 10 helicopters and has been in business for more than 30 years.

McDaniel had served almost two years as a fire rescue officer with the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department, according to the department's spokesman Jason Evans. Three subsequent maintenance violations in 2011 and 2012 didn't result in any fines.

The consulate of Argentina confirmed that Blanco, 29, was also on the helicopter, according to news outlets in the South American nation.

The NYC Ferry said late Sunday on Twitter that service on the Astoria and East River routes was now suspended until further notice because of the helicopter crash.

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