Here’s What May Have Caused Last Year’s Deadly East River Helicopter Crash

east river rescue
Rescuers on the scene of the 2011 crash.

[credit provider=”CBS”]

On October 4 of last year, a helicopter doing a sightseeing tour of New York crashed into the East River soon after taking off. Two people were killed and one was seriously injured.A preliminary report released by the National Transportation Safety Board does not provide a definitive cause for the deadly accident, but notes that the helicopter was overweight.

Investigators estimated the combined weight of the helicopter, a Bell 206, and its passengers was 3,328 pounds. The maximum allowed at takeoff is 3,200 pounds.

The pilot, 56, was taking friends visiting from abroad for a flight to see the city. A toxicology report of his urine was negative for drugs and alcohol.

According to the report, the helicopter went down almost immediately after taking off:

According to the passenger who was seated in the left cockpit seat, the helicopter moved backwards as it lifted off. The nose was pointed down, and he was leaning forward in his seat against the restraint. The helicopter then began moving “erratically,” the pilot made an exclamation similar to “oops,” and the passenger then “knew something wasn’t quite right.” The helicopter “banked” and began “oscillating from side to side” before it struck the water and rolled inverted. The passenger said that he did not recall hearing any audible warnings or any noises at all.

The NTSB will issue a full report, with a cause of accident, in about two months, according to the New York Post.