New York Politician Wants "Tourist Flight Ban"

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A New York politician is calling for a ban on "tourist flights" by helicopters over an unspecified area of the city following Tuesday's fatal crash on the East River. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-Manhattan, told CBS 2, whose Chopper 2 was among the first to hover over the scene of the crash, that she's concerned all those helicopters flying around aren't safe. "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... or there would be a tremendous loss of life." It's not clear how Maloney would distinguish between "tourist flights" and other helicopter traffic or how the flight in question might meet her criteria. The Bell 206 that crashed was privately owned by the pilot and all on board knew each other. The flight had been arranged to celebrate the birthdays of two of the occupants. While the pilot Paul Dudley was local, two of the passengers, including Sonia Marra Nicholson, who died, were from Australia and the others were British citizens living in Portugal. Some reports say Dudley is blaming the crash on a mechanical fault.

The NTSB is investigating that claim and interviewing witnesses. What is known is that the aircraft had just left the 34th Street heliport when it went out of control and crashed inverted into the river. Dudley and one of his passengers got out immediately and two other passengers were pulled out by rescuers. Marra Nicholson's body was recovered about 90 minutes after the crash.