One of the East River helicopter victims took an Instagram video moments before the crash

It’s a tragedy that officials are still trying to piece together two days after it occurred. On Sunday, March 11th, five people were killed after their helicopter crashed in New York City’s East River. Just moments before the crash happened, one of the victims, Trevor Cadigan, had posted an Instagram video showing how excited and happy he and his friend were while in the sky.

Cadigan was a new arrival to New York, having moved there several months before. His friend Brian McDaniel was visiting from their hometown, Dallas, Texas, where they grew up. The two decided to go sightseeing via Liberty Helicopters, the “largest and most experienced helicopter sightseeing and charter service in the Northeast,” as the company claims.

According to The Washington Post, Cadigan, McDaniel, pilot Richard Vance, and three other passengers — Carla Vallejos Blanco, Tristan Hill, and Daniel Thompson — had just flown over the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge before their 11-minute flight ended in the East River.

Moments before the crash-landing, Cadigan posted a 35-second video to his Instagram Story. It showed he and McDaniel, who was sitting behind him, looking thrilled to be up in the air.

Aviation writer Eric Adams was a passenger on another helicopter on Sunday evening. He met Cadigan and McDaniel before their respective takeoffs. Adams told the Post, 

"They were both very excited about the flight; they were trying to figure out the best selfies for their cameras. When I got to the terminal, one of the guys…he asked about going on the flight, if I’d done this before. Just figuring out what to expect."

After Cadigan had posted the video to his Instagram story, his family didn’t hear from him for hours after. They began to panic after hearing the news about the crash, and Cadigan’s brother-in-law soon began contacting local New York hospitals to determine and later confirm that Cadigan was amongst the victims.

The police are still trying to figure out what exactly caused the crash. The pilot reported a possible accidental engine shut-off caused by a passenger’s luggage, but there are no conclusive answers at this time.

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