A helicopter sank into New York City’s East River last night, March 11th. While the pilot managed to survive the tragic accident, all five passengers were killed. And as more details emerge, the victims of the East River helicopter crash have been identified. Here’s what we know about them.
CBS New York reported that one of the passengers was Brian McDaniel, a 26-year-old firefighter from Dallas. The other passengers were 34-year-old Daniel Thompson and 29-year-old Tristian Hill from New York, 29-year-old Carla Vallejos Blanco from Argentina, and 26-year-old Trevor Cadigan from Dallas. According to NBC New York, McDaniel and Cadigan had gone to high school together, and the firefighter was visiting Cadigan, who graduated from college in 2016 with a journalism degree and moved to New York in 2017 for work.
Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesperson Jason Evans told the Dallas-Fort Worth NBC affiliate that McDaniel had worked for the fire department for nearly two years.
Eduardo Almirantearena, the Argentine deputy consul general, told CNN that Vallejos Blanco had been visiting New York on vacation at the time of her death. He said that the consulate was working to transport her body back to Argentina.
Liberty Helicopter Tours owned the fallen helicopter, and the passengers aboard the chopper were on a sightseeing tour. All five passengers had been tightly strapped into harnesses. When the helicopter sank in the river and flipped upside down, emergency dispatchers struggled to free the five victims. Two of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, and the other three were transported to a local hospital, where they later passed away.
The cause of the crash has not been determined, but the pilot, Richard Vance, told an investigator that a passenger’s bag might have accidentally hit a button cutting off the emergency fuel supply.
The East River helicopter crash was an unthinkable tragedy, and our hearts go out to the families of McDaniel, Cadigan, Vallejos Blanco, Hill, and Thompson. We hope that the cause of this accident is discovered soon.