Chopper flights with doors open, tight restraints grounded

NEW YORK (AP) — A deadly New York City helicopter crash has prompted regulators to temporarily ground flights that have the doors open and that use tight seat restraints that could trap people in emergencies.

The Federal Aviation Administration ordered the ban Friday amid concerns such harnesses prevented passengers from escaping when their helicopter plunged into the East River on Sunday, killing five people.

The FAA says the ban applies to helicopters that fly with doors open, often so passengers can take pictures, and use harnesses that can't be quickly released. The agency says the flights must stay grounded until the restraints are fixed.

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro says divers had to cut passengers out of their harnesses. The parents of one crash victim call the harnesses a "death trap."

The National Transportation Safety Board says it's investigating.

 

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