Helicopter crash company has spotty safety record
Liberty Helicopters has a spotty safety record with four earlier accidents — including a deadly midair collision with a private plane over the Hudson River.
That horrific mishap unfolded Aug. 8, 2009, when a Liberty chopper was flying higher than the company’s 1,000-foot ceiling and an air traffic controller busy on the phone failed to warn the plane’s pilot about aircraft in his path.
All nine people in the air were killed — a pilot and five Italian tourists on the chopper, and a pilot and two passengers on the plane.
A Liberty chopper also crashed into the Hudson River on July 7, 2007, when a main rotor blade came apart mid-flight, but the pilot and seven passengers escaped injury and were rescued.
On June 14, 2001, a chartered Liberty helicopter carrying six finance workers back from a Philadelphia 76ers playoff game crashed in a New Jersey field when a rotor blade clipped a tree in heavy fog.
And a Liberty chopper chewed up the side of a small building when it was hit by a strong gust of wind while landing at the West 30th Street helipad Dec. 31, 1997.
Mayor Bill de Blasio struck a deal in 2016 to limit the number of helicopter tours around the city and prohibit them on Sundays.
But the agreement covers only flights out of the downtown Manhattan Heliport at Pier 6. Sunday’s flight, which was chartered by the FlyNYON aerial photography company, originated in New Jersey.