Dana Branham and Tristan Hallman
The Dallas Morning News
Updated at 1:02 p.m.: Revised to include additional details.
A firefighter and a journalist from Dallas were among the five people killed when a helicopter crashed in New York’s East River on Sunday evening.
The private charter helicopter, a Eurocopter AS350, was carrying five people for a private photo shoot when it went down around 7 p.m., officials said.
Dallas-Fire Rescue confirmed Monday that Officer Brian McDaniel, 26, died in the crash. He was hired by the department in May 2016.
McDaniel is survived by his father, mother and brother, a Dallas Fire-Rescue spokesman said. He was assigned to Fire Station 36, in West Dallas.
“Hearts are heavy with grief as we not only try to come to grips with his loss departmentally; but to also be there in every way that we can for his family,” spokesman Jason Evans said in a statement.
Trevor Cadigan, a video journalist originally from Dallas, also died in the crash. He was a Southern Methodist University graduate who wrote for GuideLive for several years.
Cadigan was also a former WFAA-TV (Channel 8) intern and is the son of production manager Jerry Cadigan, the station reported. He had recently moved to New York to start a career with Business Insider, the station reported.
McDaniel and Cadigan went to Bishop Lynch High School together, and McDaniel had been visiting Cadigan this weekend in New York, KXAS-TV (NBC 5) reported.
McDaniel’s brother, Jason, told the New York Daily News that his brother “loved his job, loved his friends and family and loved adventure.” McDaniel played several sports at Bishop Lynch and was an Eagle Scout. He helped renovate a home in Dallas through the People Helping People program.
His friend Cole Taylor Collins said McDaniel had told him how excited he was to see New York from the helicopter and had plans to see Broadway shows. He said McDaniel was a “hardcore sports” fan who loved the Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys as well as motorcycles, biking and the outdoors.
Collins and McDaniel had been friends since fifth grade.
“He was one of the most loyal friends you could ever ask for,” Collins said. “He was the type of guy that, even if you were in the wrong, he would be there for you and have your back. Also if you needed something and he was busy, and you actually needed him, he was the type of person who would drop everything in a heartbeat and come get you or help you out in any way he could.”
Collins said McDaniel also loved Dallas “more than anyone I’ve ever known in my life.” Collins said his friend would give people grief if they didn’t have a 214 area code.
He said McDaniel joined the department because “he kind of figured out that he loved Dallas so much and wanted to do something for it.”
All five passengers aboard the helicopter died; only the pilot survived.
The pilot was heard calling “Mayday, mayday, mayday” and reported engine failure as the helicopter went down. The helicopter flipped upside down in the water after it crashed, officials said.
The pilot was able to free himself from the aircraft and was rescued by a tugboat, officials said. New York police and fire department divers had to remove the remaining passengers from tight harnesses to get them out.
“It took awhile for the divers to get these people out. They worked very quickly as fast as they could,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. “It was a great tragedy that we had here.”
The other people killed in the crash were Carla Vallejos Blanco, a tourist from Argentina, and helicopter employees Tristan Hill and Daniel Thompson, the Daily News reported.
The cause of the crash is unknown, and both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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