The model of the helicopter that crashed into the East River on Tuesday, killing one passenger, is apparently susceptible to rotor problems. And the National Transportation Safety Board has ruled out the pilot's belief that the chopper, which plunged into the river upside down, failed due to engine problems and are now investigating wind issues, as well as whether weight restrictions were followed.
Pilot Paul Dudley was taking out his family friends, Paul and Harriet Nicholson, Harriet's daughter Sonia Marra and Mara's partner Helen Tamaki on Tuesday afternoon for sightseeing. After taking off from the Midtown East Heliport, the chopper plunged. Dudley and Paul Nicholson were able to free themselves and shout for help. Harriet Nicholson and Tamaki were also pulled to shore. Dudley later said that he needed 10 more seconds to free Marra, but he was unable to and Marra's body wasn't recovered until 90 minutes after the crash.
The NTSB has been reviewing Dudley's training and has interviewed him for hours. According to the Post, "The NTSB member also said more than a dozen investigators involved in the probe are determining if wind played a factor — and if the chopper had more than a total of 3,200 pounds of weight aboard, the maximum the 5-seater would have been allowed."
Tamaki and Harriet Nicholson remain in critical condition. Tamaki and Marra lived in Sydney, Australia, while the Nicholsons live in Portugal—the family came together in New York for Marra's 40th birthday celebration. Paul Nicholson told the Post, "People are looking after us very well.
We appreciate everything New Yorkers and the city are doing for us.”