NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – The helicopter tour company behind last year’s East River crash that killed five people continues to offer doors-off flights not only for tourists, but for their dogs too.

On Sunday, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez called on the Federal Aviation Administration to close the loophole that allows doors-off sightseeing tours for aerial photography. The lawmakers said the flights are meant for professional and commercial purposes, not tourists.

FlyNYON recently offered a promotion benefiting Pilots N Paws, a group that rescues animals from disasters like Hurricane Dorian.

The company said it does offer flights for dogs, but they have to stay strapped into their seats, and their owners have to buy a separate ticket.

In a statement, FlyNYON said it is “fully compliant with all FAA operation and safety standards.”

Five people drowned in March 2018 when they were unable to free themselves from their harnesses after their open-side helicopter rolled over into the water. The pilot, who was not wearing a harness, survived.

After the deadly crash, the FAA temporarily grounded all doors-off flights, and New York City lawmakers banned such flights leaving from city-controlled heliports. However, flights leaving from New Jersey – like FlyNYON – were not impacted.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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