The News – Capital Media
The News – Capital Media
  • NTSB urges ban on copter flights with unsafe harness systems

  • New York City's deadly helicopter crash has prompted the National Transportation Safety Board to call on federal regulators to prohibit commercial flights that use passenger harness systems that do not allow for easy release. The NTSB's recommendation on Monday comes after last week's helicopter crash in the East River, killing five passengers. On Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration temporarily grounded open-door flights. The FAA says more formal action is expected.

, FILE - In this March 12, 2018 file photo, a helicopter is hoisted by crane from the East River onto a barge in New York after a Sunday night crash that killed five people. New York City’s deadly helicopter crash has prompted the National Transportation Safety Board to call on federal regulators to prohibit commercial flights that use passenger harness systems that do not allow for easy release. The NTSB’s recommendation on Monday, March 19, comes after last week’s helicopter crash in the East River. Five passengers who couldn’t free themselves from their harnesses drowned. The pilot escaped. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

19 of March 2018 23:23:58

NEW YORK (AP) — A deadly helicopter crash into a river prompted the National Transportation Safety Board on Monday to call on federal regulators to prohibit commercial flights that use passenger harness systems that do not allow for easy release.

The NTSB's recommendation comes after last week's helicopter crash in the East River. Five passengers who couldn't free themselves from their harnesses drowned when the helicopter rolled over into the water. The pilot, who was not wearing a harness, escaped with only minor injuries.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday temporarily grounded open-door flights with restraints that cannot be quickly released until they're equipped with restraint systems that open with one action. The FAA also said it was conducting a "top to bottom review" of its rules covering open-door flights.

The NTSB on Monday also said the harness system provided to the helicopter crash passengers "was not evaluated by the FAA."

"While we applaud the FAA's intention to move forward on banning these types of doors-off flights, the FAA has not outlined how or when they plan to take action," said NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt. "And definitive action needs to be taken."

FAA spokesman Greg Martin described the grounding as a first step.

"We told operators to suspend flights as soon as we identified the risk," Martin said in a statement. "More formal action regarding this communication is forthcoming."


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