Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
UPDATE: NTSB Investigation of New York City Helicopter Crash
Bookmark and Share this page

 UPDATE: NTSB Investigation of New York City Helicopter Crash

​NEW YORK (March 13, 2018)—The National Transportation Safety Board continued its investigation Tuesday into the March 11, 2018 crash of an Airbus Helicopters AS350B2 (N350LH) into New York’s East River.

The helicopter was substantially damaged when it impacted the river and subsequently rolled inverted during an autorotation, killing five passengers and injuring the pilot.

The pilot had contacted the LaGuardia Airport air traffic control tower for entry into the Class B airspace while flying at an altitude of 2,000 feet. Approximately five minutes later, the pilot declared “Mayday” and stated that the helicopter’s engine had failed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the scheduled 30-minute aerial photography flight that was operated by Liberty Helicopters under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight originated from Helo Kearny Heliport (65NJ), Kearny, New Jersey.

Parties to the NTSB investigation are the Federal Aviation Administration, Liberty Helicopters and the Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la sécurité de l'aviation civile (BEA France). Airbus Helicopters and Safran Helicopter Engines are technical advisors to the investigation.

Significant activities today included:

  • Physical examination of the accident helicopter at New York Police Department’s Aviation Unit
  • headquarters in Brooklyn by airworthiness, powerplant, and survival factors investigator
  • Engine was prepared for removal and teardown
  • Helicopter structure and systems examined by airworthiness investigators.
  • Rotor and flight control systems examination initiated
  • Survival factors investigators examined and documented passenger restraint system
  • Investigators interviewed Liberty Helicopters’ chief pilot
  • Interviewed witnesses and rescue personnel
  • Interview with accident pilot to be scheduled
  • NTSB’s Transportation Disaster Assistance team consulted with NYPD regarding personal effects
  • Recovered electronic devices, including a Go-Pro camera, which is being sent to the NTSB laboratories in Washington for readout
  • Recovered Appareo Vision 1000 from helicopter. Unit and memory card were placed in water for transport to NTSB laboratories. The Vision 100 could provide data on pitch, roll, and yaw as well as position, vertical speed, ground speed and altitude and ambient sound

Imagery of the ongoing NTSB investigation are available at the NTSB's Flickr page at and video is available at the NTSB's YouTube Channel at 

Enter the YouTube ID of each video separated by a semi-colon (;). Example: "LV5_xj_yuhs; QgaTQ5-XfMM; VWW8DMpfI9U; BgAlQuqzl8o;"


Contact: NTSB Media Relations
490 L'Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20594
Eric Weiss
(202) 314-6100