Second Female Passenger Aboard Doomed East River Chopper Dies
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Bellevue Hospital has confirmed Helen Tamaki, the other female passenger during last week’s helicopter crash in the East River, died Tuesday night.
Tamaki, 43, was in New York City with her partner, Sonia Marra, and her family to celebrate Marra’s 40th birthday.
The group was on the helicopter when it crashed into the river on Oct. 4. Marra drowned. Tamaki and Marra’s mother were critically injured.
The hospital said Tamaki died at 7 p.m. Tuesday night.
The NTSB said the Bell 206 helicopter had just gone through an annual inspection on Oct. 2.
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During an annual inspection, mechanics take much of an aircraft apart and put it together again. The work can take several weeks.
The helicopter ascended a mere 30 feet from the heliport at 34th Street before it plunged into the river.
PHOTO GALLERY: East River Helicopter Crash
NTSB investigators have been looking into whether mechanical or human error caused the crash, but have said they’ve found no evidence of engine failure.
The pilot told the NTSB the nose of the helicopter swung unexpectedly to the left as he was taking off. When he tried to turn right, the aircraft went out of control.
Three-fourths of one main rotor blade broke off when the helicopter hit the water, the report said.
Investigators had previously said they were unsure if the blade broke before or after the impact. Officials have been trying to find the missing piece.
The NTSB issued a preliminary report about the crash on Wednesday. However, it has not determined the cause.
Four passengers along with pilot Paul Dudley were on board the helicopter when it crashed into the water. Marra’s father, Paul Nicholson, her mother Harriet Nicholson, her partner, Tamaki, and Dudley were rescued.
Marra’s body was pulled from the water by police divers 90 minutes after the chopper crashed in the water.
Tamaki had been in critical condition with possible damage to her lungs and brain. Harriet Nicholson is also reported to be in critical condition.
Officials have been examining the salvaged wreckage of the helicopter in detail after it was pulled from the river and transported to Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn.
The helicopter was built in 1976 and had flown 11,580 hours, the report said. It had a 400-horsepower Rolls-Royce engine
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