He said the passengers were tightly strapped in and their harnesses had to be cut too free them from the downed helicopter.
The official was briefed on the investigation but was not authorized to speak publicly about it and spoke Monday on condition of anonymity.
Liberty Helicopters has been involved in at least two other crashes, according to news accounts, including a mid-air collision with a small plane in August 2009 over the Hudson River that killed nine people. It took off from Wall Street, New York. It took a while for the divers to get these people out.
The FAA hasn't commented on Schumer's suggestion.
All five passengers on a helicopter have been killed after it crashed into the East River off Manhattan. It ended a few weeks ago.
The dead included Brian McDaniel and Trevor Cadigan, both of Dallas, Texas. Argentina's NY consulate said Carla Vallejos Blanco was one of the victims. A brochure for Liberty Helicopters, which is based in New Jersey, says it is the only company licensed to fly within 1000 feet of the Statue of Liberty on all of its tours.
It was not immediately clear what caused the helicopter to crash. Unknown pilot: "It was a mayday call, LaGuardia".
The pilot was able to free himself and was later treated and released from hospital. All five passengers died.
Photo A diver with the New York Fire Department is hosed down after he pulled victims from the submerged helicopter.
Two years before that, in July 2007, a Liberty sightseeing chopper carrying eight people dropped into the Hudson river.
Within a minute the call was routed to an ambulance, the law enforcement official said, and soon Fire Department and Police Department sea rescue experts were working to respond.
Jason McDaniel confirmed the very bad accident had killed his 26-year-old brother. The East River separates the borough of Queens on Long Island from the Bronx and also divides Manhattan from Queens and Brooklyn.
An unverified amateur video of the crash has emerged, showing a red helicopter coming down with a large splash at dusk, before capsizing onto its right side.
The charter helicopter was hired for a photo shoot. According to CBS, his LinkedIn profile says he has worked for Liberty Helicopters for nearly two years and has prior experience flying choppers with another company in CT.
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