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Lawmakers Call For Ban Of All Tourist Chopper Flights Over NYC River Corridors

28 Crashes In The City Since 1983; FAA So Far Silent On The Issue
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A helicopter that crashed into the East River in New York is raised from the water Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011. (credit: AP Photo/Louis Lanzano)

A helicopter that crashed into the East River in New York is raised from the water Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011. (credit: AP Photo/Louis Lanzano)

Marcia Kramer thumbnail Marcia Kramer
Marcia Kramer joined CBS 2 in 1990 as an investigative and political...
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Ground the choppers!

WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond With Rep. Jerrold Nadler

That’s what a group of lawmakers were demanding Wednesday. They want all tourist helicopters banned from Manhattan’s busy air corridors, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reports.

Is it safe to have such a high volume of helicopter traffic over our city? That’s what many New York politicians want to know.

“I have written the FAA to see if the frequent numbers of helicopters going across the East River and in that vicinity is safe or not. Thank heavens they weren’t going over buildings, Marcia, or there would be a tremendous loss of life,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-Manhattan.

Maloney pointed out that there have been at least 28 helicopter crashes over the city since 1983, resulting in at least 18 deaths and 43 injuries.

In June 2005, two different choppers went down three days apart and in August 2009 a tourist helicopter and a small plane hit in midair, killing nine.

Maloney said she wants a chopper ban.

“Tourism travel should not be permitted. It’s too dangerous,” Maloney said.

The public has no idea how very crowded the Hudson River and East River corridors really are unless you fly them yourself. Kramer stepped aboard Chopper 2 and watched helicopters coming and going and coming and going and at the Wall Street helipad there were five choppers coming in and taking off at the very same time.

The pictures Kramer took in the air and on the ground show lots and lots of chopper activity.

In the aftermath of Tuesday’s disaster some — like this group of tourists from France — decided to forgo a chopper ride.

“We gonna think about it because they didn’t have all the information about the crash. We can’t go ahead,” Fabienne Parnet said.

But not everyone seemed worried.

“I’m not particularly concerned. We drive in cars every day despite the fact that there are cars crashed every day, so I’m sure, especially after an incident like that, safety will be top notch,” said John Byrd of Toronto.

Despite the calls for a chopper ban it’s unlikely any decision will be made until the investigation into Tuesday’s crash is complete.

The Federal Aviation Administration is aware of the politicians’ demands, but did not return Kramer’s calls for comment.

Do you think this is a good idea or an overreaction? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

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