Only 'Houdini' Could Get Out of Downed Chopper Alive

Pilot Richard Vance reportedly says the emergency pontoons didn't inflate
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 13, 2018 8:27 AM CDT
A helicopter is hoisted by crane from the East River onto a barge, Monday, March 12, 2018, in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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(Newser) – There was basically no hope of survival for the five passengers on the helicopter that crashed in New York's East River on Sunday, says a helicopter crash lawyer. Gary C. Robb tells the Daily News, "You'd have to be Houdini to escape. There's no real prospect of safely evacuating an aircraft in that situation." The situation he's referring to is a trio of factors: the open doors of the aircraft (flying that way is legal, and the company apparently advertised allowing passengers the "thrill" of shooting better pictures that way), questions over how adequate the passenger safety training was, and tight harnesses that were difficult to free one's self from. FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro indicated the passengers didn't manage to do that, saying "the five people ... were all tightly harnessed, so these harnesses had to be cut." More on the victims:

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