Feds: Overloading, pilot error downed copter

Feds: Overloading, pilot error downed East River copter

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NEW YORK (AP) - Federal safety authorities say a fatal crash at a Manhattan heliport in 2011 was likely due to overloading and the pilot's failure to recover from an unexpected flight motion.

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Three people suffered fatal injuries when the helicopter plunged into the East River shortly after takeoff.

The victims included a British woman, living in Australia, who was in New York to celebrate her 40th birthday. Her mother and domestic partner also died.

The pilot was a family friend who managed an airport in Linden, N.J. He survived.

The National Transportation Safety Board said in a report Friday that the helicopter was at least 28 pounds overweight when it took off.

Investigators say the weight, wind factors and an ineffective pilot maneuver caused the aircraft to go into a spin.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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