Second Woman Dies After East River Helicopter Crash

By Tom Liddy on October 12, 2011 7:06pm 

Since they arrived on the scene on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011, NTSB investigators have been analyzing the aircraft.
Since they arrived on the scene on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011, NTSB investigators have been analyzing the aircraft.
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NTSB

MANHATTAN — A second woman has died after the helicopter that the women were riding on plunged into the East River last week, officials said.

Helen Tamaki, 43, died at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Bellevue Hospital — a little more than a week after the chopper accident that killer her partner, Sonia Marra, who was in town celebrating her 40th birthday.

Marra's mother, Harriet Nicholson, 60, who is in critical condition at Bellevue, and father, Paul Nicholson, 72, who suffered minor injuries, were also on board the celebratory sightseeing flight.

According to the Medical Examiner's Office, Tamaki died from "complications of near-drowning."

The pilot of the ill-fated aircraft, Paul Dudley, 56, escaped the wreck with minor injuries.

Almost immediately after the helicopter took off, Dudley, who was friends with his passengers, reported a problem.

According to a preliminary report from the NTSB, the chopper, which had undergone its annual inspection just two days beforehand, started to yaw to the left and then dove into the river.

Sources told DNAinfo that investigators were examining whether weight was a factor in the crash, but have not yet made that determination.

They also have all but ruled out engine failure as a cause.

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