Squadron, Other Pols Call for Helicopter Ban After Crash

A 40-year-old woman was killed and four others injured in yesterday's East River helicopter crash near 34th Street. Photo courtesy nybuff.org

State Senator Daniel Squadron and other political leaders called for a complete ban on tourist helicopter flights in New York City’s crowded airspace this afternoon, in the wake of yesterday’s fatal crash that killed Australian restaurant owner Sonia Marra, who was celebrating her 40th birthday in the city.

“Yesterday’s tragedy is another clear sign: nonessential helicopters in Manhattan don’t make sense for passengers, pilots, or local residents,” said Squadron. “My colleagues and I have long called for better regulation of helicopters in New York. There are still many questions about yesterday’s flight. The fact that this helicopter was a privately-run tour from a heliport that was not supposed to run tours shows that today’s regulations don’t work. Simply put, nonessential flights in and out of Manhattan pose too great a risk.”

Squadron was joined by Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Assemblywoman Joan Millman and Councilmembers Brad Lander, Steve Levin, and Gale Brewer in calling for “an overhaul of the city’s failed helicopter policy.”

In addition, The New York Times reported yesterday that Rep. Carolyn Maloney, whose district includes the heliport, “called for the Federal Aviation Administration to consider ‘whether or not it makes sense’ to allow nonessential helicopter traffic to originate in Manhattan.”

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, and preliminary findings show part of a rotor blade was damaged or missing, according to NY1. Marra’s 43-year-old partner and her mother were critically injured; her stepfather and the pilot escaped with minor injuries from the dramatic crash that sent the helicopter into 50 feet of water shortly after take-off shortly before 3:30 yesterday afternoon.