3 Mar 2013

Pilot error led to chopper crash which killed NZ woman

6:48 am on 3 March 2013

US accident investigators say a helicopter which crashed into New York's East River killing a New Zealand woman and two others was the result of pilot error.

Sydney-based Helen Tamaki was on holiday in New York with her partner, Sonia Marra, and Ms Marra's mother and stepfather.

The helicopter was flown by Paul Dudley, a family friend.

The two men were the only survivors of the crash.

The US National Transportation Safety Board report concludes the Bell 206B helicopter was overloaded for the sightseeing flight and Mr Dudley failed to pull it out of an uncontrolled spin.

It says the pilot expected two passengers, but four turned up, and he went ahead without performing weight-and-balance calculations.

Mr Dudley has rejected the report, saying in 30 years of flying he never scratched the paint on an aircraft.