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Survivors Of Helicopter Crash In East River Issue Statement Of Thanks To Rescuers

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A diver enters the waters of the East River next to orange buoys that mark the spot where a helicopter crashed, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011. (credit: AP Photo/Louis Lanzano)

A diver enters the waters of the East River next to orange buoys that mark the spot where a helicopter crashed, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011. (credit: AP Photo/Louis Lanzano)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The survivors of the helicopter that crashed in New York City’s East River, killing a female passenger celebrating her birthday and injuring three others, thanked their rescuers and hospital staff, according to a statement released Friday.

“We would like to say a heartfelt thank you to the rescue teams who acted with great courage, and also to hospital staff at Bellevue Hospital Center and the NYPD, for their compassion, kindness and great care,” said the statement.

The statement also praised the pilot, Paul Dudley, saying he “is a family friend, who acted with great bravery in the rescue.”

Investigators have so far not found any evidence of engine failure, but the National Transportation Safety Board has not ruled anything out yet. The Board is expected to release a preliminary report on the crash by next week Wednesday.

Sonia Marra, a 40-year-old British woman who lived in Australia, died in Tuesday’s crash. Her body was pulled from the water by police divers 90 minutes after the Bell 206 helicopter crashed after taking off from a Manhattan riverside heliport near the United Nations headquarters.

The passengers were visiting New York to celebrate the birthdays of Marra and her stepfather, Paul Nicholson, 71. They were accompanied by Nicholson’s wife, Harriet Nicholson, 60; and a friend of Marra, Helen Tamaki, 43. Both remain in critical condition at Bellevue.

The Nicholsons are British but live in Portugal; Marra and Tamaki, a citizen of New Zealand, lived in Sydney, Australia.

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