Reporter, tourist and firefighter among NYC helicopter crash victims

CNN/ Newswire | 3/13/2018, 9:25 a.m.
A young news reporter, a firefighter and a tourist from Argentina were among the five passengers who died in a …
Several people have died and one survived after a helicopter went down in New York's East River on March 11, 2018, according to officials.

By Eric Levenson, CNN

(CNN) -- A young news reporter, a firefighter and a tourist from Argentina were among the five passengers who died in a helicopter crash in New York's East River on Sunday night.

The victims were on board a Liberty Helicopters aircraft that had been chartered for a private photo shoot, authorities said. The helicopter crash-landed in the East River, flipped upside down and then sunk into the cold water, authorities said.

When emergency workers reached the helicopter, the passengers were tightly harnessed and had to be cut out, Fire Department of New York Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. The pilot of the helicopter was able to free himself and was the only survivor.

The NYPD identified the victims as Carla Vallejos Blanco, 29; Daniel Thompson, 34; Tristan Hill, 29; Trevor Cadigan, 26; and Brian McDaniel, 26.

Carla Vallejos Blanco, a tourist from Argentina, was on a vacation taking a photographic tour of the city when she was killed, according to Deputy Consul General Eduardo Almirantearena. The Argentine consulate said her family is working with the New York City medical examiner to bring her body back to Argentina.

Cuenca del Plata University in Argentina said she studied art, design and communications.

Trevor Cadigan was an intern at media organization Business Insider until a few weeks ago, according to a company spokesman.

"He was a smart, talented, and ambitious young journalist and producer who was well-liked and made a big contribution. Our hearts go out to his family and friends," the company said in a statement.

Cadigan was the son of Jerry Cadigan, the production manager for WFAA in Dallas, and had interned at WFAA previously.

"The entire WFAA family is heartbroken by the sudden and tragic loss of Trevor Cadigan," Brad Ramsey, WFAA president and general manager, said in a statement. "We would like to thank the many friends and former employees of WFAA who have reached out to offer your condolences and support. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of Trevor's family and friends, and with the families of all of the victims of yesterday's tragic accident."

Brian McDaniel was a fire rescue officer for Dallas Fire-Rescue who had been hired in May 2016, the department said in a statement.

"Despite his short tenure, 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," the statement said.

McDaniel and Cadigan both went to Bishop Lynch High School in downtown Dallas, according to CNN affiliate KDAF.

Daniel Thompson had a "mighty voice, as well as a mighty heart" in his role on the Young New Yorkers' Chorus, the group said on Facebook.

He joined the group's Mixed Ensemble in 2008, served on its board for eight years and took over as president of the non-profit in 2016.

"His love of music and dedication to the organization and its members will be greatly missed," the group said. "Daniel loved his friends unconditionally and was always there -- at any hour of the day or night. He was passionate and kind, and was always someone to lean on."

Tristan Hill was a basketball operations assistant for the Westchester Knicks, a minor league basketball team, during the 2015-16 season, the team said on Facebook.

"Tristan was an incredible colleague, teammate, and friend," the team said. "He will be remembered by the staff and players as someone who brightened every room he entered, with a contagious smile and an unparalleled enthusiasm for life. Our thoughts are with Tristan's fiance, family, and friends, as well as the loved ones of the other victims of yesterday's devastating tragedy."