NYC helicopter crash victims identified as firefighter, journalist, tourists

Five people were killed after a tourist helicopter crashed into the East River in New York City Sunday evening.

Those onboard the private Eurocopter AS350 included tourists, a journalist and a firefighter. The helicopter pilot, Richard Vance, was the only survivor.

The helicopter, chartered for a photo shoot tour, crashed into a frigid East River around 7 p.m. on March 11. Vance radioed that the helicopter had "engine failure” seconds before the crash. Investigators are looking into whether one of the passenger’s bags could have accidentally hit the fuel shut off button on board.

Liberty Helicopters, a company based in Kearny, New Jersey, that operated the sightseeing helicopter, said it is “focused on supporting the families affected by this tragic accident and on fully cooperating with the FAA and NTSB investigations.”

Here’s a look at the lives lost in the crash.

Carla Vallejos Blanco


Carla Vallejos Blanco was a 29-year-old tourist from Argentina.  (Facebook)

Carla Vallejos Blanco was a 29-year-old tourist visiting New York City from Argentina with a friend, a spokeswoman with the Argentinian consulate told Fox News. 

Her friend was not in the helicopter, the spokeswoman said. 

The young woman had visited New York before, according to Argentinian newspaper Clarín. She had a degree in advertising.

Trevor Cadigan

helicopter crash_instagram

Trevor Cadigan, 26, appears to have posted an Instagram video of the helicopter ride before the crash.  (Instagram)

Trevor Cadigan, a 26-year-old videographer, was among those killed in the helicopter crash. He was a former intern with WFAA-TV in Dallas.

He was also a son of longtime WFAA production manager Jerry Cadigan, the news station reported.

According to WFAA, Cadigan graduated from Southern Methodist University, where he majored in journalism. He recently moved to New York City to pursue a career with news website Business Insider, where he had recently interned, according to the publication.

"He was very enthusiastic and was certainly an overachiever," Business Insider editor Sara Silverstein said.

Cadigan also spent time working in Beijing, producing videos for Chinese media start-up SupChina, according to Business Insider.

Cadigan appears to have posted an Instagram video in the final moments before the crash. He was on the helicopter with his high school friend, Brian McDaniel, WNBC reported.

Brian McDaniel

This undated photo provided by Dallas Fire-Rescue shows Officer Brian McDaniel who died in a helicopter crash Sunday evening, March 11, 2018, while on vacation in New York. McDaniel and several other passengers who died in the sightseeing helicopter were strapped in with tight safety harnesses when the aircraft plunged into New York City's East River after the pilot was heard on an emergency radio saying the engine had failed. (Dallas Fire-Rescue via AP)

Brian McDaniel, 26, was visiting New York City. He was a member of the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department, it said in a statement.  (Dallas Fire-Rescue via AP)

Brian McDaniel, 26, was with the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department for nearly two years as an officer, the station said in a statement.

McDaniel, who was on vacation in New York, died in the crash.

He also worked as a videographer on the side, the Dallas Morning News reported.

“Despite his short tenure, hearts are heavy with grief as we not only try to come to grips with his loss departmentally, but to also be there in every way that we can for his family,” Dallas Fire-Rescue said in a statement.

Joe Masinter, who said he was McDaniel's best friend, posted a tribute to the firefighter on Facebook. 

"He was a firefighter here in Dallas, making his living by helping as many people as he could each day. He was that kind of person - helping others before himself. The 12 years of our friendship doesn't end here brother," Masinter said. 

McDaniel left behind his parents and an older brother.

Tristan Hill

Tristan Hill had a passion for helping youth, according to his brother.  (LinkedIn)

Tristan Hill, 29, was one of the people killed on the helicopter – just a few months away from his wedding, the New York Post reported.

A friend told the New York Post that Hill and his fiancé, Eda Ozmen, had enjoyed a romantic night together the evening before the tragic crash. In a text, Ozmen said, “Tell them how much I love him and how loved he is.”

Hill worked for Sightsy, a sight-seeing tour company, the New York Post reported. His LinkedIn page said he was the director of operations for the company. 

Hill was remembered by loved ones on social media as someone who would always lend a hand to those who needed it.

His brother, Brendan Hill, told the New York Post that Tristan was dedicated to helping younger people. Part of that passion included working with NBA players to raise funds for a basketball program and scholarships in Reno, Nevada, his brother said.

“He was an incredible human being, he spent all his time bringing all the people around him up,” Brendan told the New York Post. “He always took time to listen to what you had to say. He was just a very good man.”

Daniel Thompson


David Thompson, 34, was also a part of a non-profit musical chorus in New York City.  (Facebook)

Daniel Thompson, 34, was also killed in the crash.

Thompson graduated from Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana with a degree in arts administration in 2006, according to WXIN-TV.

The Young New Yorkers’ Chorus (YNYC) said in a Facebook post that Thompson was the organization’s board president and chorus member.

“He was an integral part of growing the organization, helping to achieve its mission of bringing innovative choral music to new audiences,” YNYC said in a statement. “His love of music and dedication to the organization and its members will be greatly missed.”

YNYC said Thompson was with the non-profit since 2008 and was board president since 2016.

“Daniel loved his friends unconditionally and was always there - at any hour of the day or night. He was passionate and kind, and was always someone to lean on. He had both a mighty voice, as well as a mighty heart,” YNYC said.

Fox News' Shira Bush and Greg Norman contributed to this report.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @K_Schallhorn.