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Third Woman Dies from East River Helicopter Crash

By Tom Liddy | November 6, 2011 4:26pm

MANHATTAN — A third woman has died from injuries suffered in a fatal helicopter crash in the East River last month, officials said.

Harriet Nicholson, 60, died at 3:22 a.m. Sunday at Bellevue Hospital — more than a month after the chopper she was riding in along with three others plunged into the water near the 34th Street heliport on Oct. 4.

The Medical Examiner's office said that the cause of death was "respiratory complications from near drowning."

The ill-fated trip was a 40th birthday present for her daughter, Sonia Marra.  Marra was trapped inside the helicopter and died at the scene.

A week later, Marra's partner, Helen Tamaki, 43, died from "complications of near-drowning," according to the Medical Examiner's office.

Nicholson's husband, Paul, 72, received only minor injuries in the crash, as did pilot Paul Dudley, 56.

Dudley reported problems almost immediately after the helicopter took off from the heliport.

A preliminary investigation revealed that the aircraft had undergone an inspection just two days before the crash.

Engine failure was all but ruled out as a cause.

Sources told DNAinfo that weight was being examined as a factor, but a determination had not yet been made.