The official was briefed on the investigation but was not authorized to speak publicly about it and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
NEW YORK, New York - A Texas firefighter, an Argentine woman and a video journalist were among five passengers killed when a helicopter plunged into New York City's East River, with the pilot reporting the engine had failed.
By the time emergency workers arrived, the helicopter was upside down and underwater.
Two passengers were pronounced dead at the scene on Sunday.
"One of the most hard parts of the operation we're told is the five people besides the pilot were all tightly harnessed so these harnesses had to be cut and removed in order to get these folks off of the helicopter which was upside down at the time and completely submerged", said FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro. The consulate said her family is working with the New York City medical examiner to bring her body back to Argentina.
He said: "It took a while for the divers to get these people out".
The owner, Liberty Helicopters, referred all inquiries to federal authorities.
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Three of the passengers were taken to hospital with critical injuries after surviving the crash, but the New York City Fire Department confirmed their deaths early Monday. His profile on the site says he was originally from Dallas.
In interviews with police, the 33-year-old Vance said he could not figure out what was wrong with the aircraft until he saw one of the passengers' harnesses strangling the fuel line. Cadigan got a degree in journalism from Southern Methodist University while his friend went into firefighting.
The exact cause of the crash is yet to be determined, though the pilot believed that one of the passenger's bag may have hit an emergency fuel shutoff button.
"Mayday, mayday, mayday", he said in an emergency radio call as the aircraft foundered. All five passengers died.
Brian McDaniel was a fire rescue officer for Dallas Fire-Rescue who had been hired in May 2016, the department said in a statement.
John Dellaportas, president of a group that has advocated for restrictions on helicopter flights around the city, said safety of the flights is a major issue.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.
The pilot freed himself and was rescued by a tugboat. The FAA called it a Eurocopter AS350. The company offers both private charters and sightseeing tours for tourists.
A source told the Post the pilot, who has been flying for nine years, did not want to land on Central Park so he headed for the East River.
The person at the other end of the transmission had trouble making out what the pilot was saying.