Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Frantic Mayday Call Moments Before NYC Helicopter Crash

EDM Monday Briefing: Frantic Mayday Call Moments Before NYC Helicopter Crash


Emergency and disaster management briefing for March 12, 2018: A frantic mayday call is sent out from a helicopter pilot just moments before it crashes into New York's East River, a suspect who shot and killed a police officer was arrested Saturday following a 15 hour standoff with SWAT, three people are dead after a gunman takes hostages at a veterans' center in California, flying rocks pose a significant danger to residents in Japan as a volcano continues erupting, yet another winter storm sets its sights on the East Coast, Mexican police have ruled out terrorism and organized crime in the recent ferry blast, the officer slain in Clinton, MO was sent to the wrong address, a passenger plane crash in Kathmandu, Nepal kills at least 37 people, and a deadly explosion Monday morning in Austin kills one and injures a woman.

  1. A frantic mayday call from a helicopter pilot came seconds before it crashed into New York City's East River on Sunday, killing all five passengers. The Eurocopter AS350 helicopter, chartered for a photo shoot, allegedly suffered an engine failure before hitting the water and then flipping over. The pilot, who survived, was able to free himself and was rescued, while divers had to cut out the passengers, who were tightly harnessed their seats.  
  2. A suspect, who shot two police officers, killing one and wounding the other, was arrested on Saturday in Pomona, California, after a 15 hour standoff with SWAT. The two police officers received a call about reckless driving, but the driver refused to pull over and led police on a chase which ended when the suspect crashed. The suspect fled into an apartment building where he shot through the door when officers tried to apprehend him, striking Officer Gregg Casillas first and killing him, then seriously wounding the other officer, who has yet to be identified.  
  3. A tragic end to an eight hour hostage situation at the Pathway Home veterans center in Yountville, California left four people dead Friday evening, including the gunman and three hostages. A gunman, dressed in body armor, tactical goggles, and armed with an assault rifle, entered the grounds Friday morning at around 10:00 a.m., and exchanged gunfire with a deputy, then took three people hostage in building G. The suspect was later identified as Albert Wong, 36, a former patient at the center, who had recently been expelled from the program.  
  4. Officials in Japan have expanded an urgent warning to area residents near the Mount Shinmoedake volcano about the continued eruption of the volcano that is sending large rocks flying up to 2.5 miles away. The Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) said the size of the rocks in Friday's two explosions were up to 20 inches (50cm), posing a significant danger to life, and further noted that the eruptions could continue for months. The volcano began erupting on Tuesday, sending a plume of smoke and ash nearly three miles into the sky, disrupting air traffic in the area.  
  5. A winter storm watch is in effect for about 8.5 million people in coastal New England, as yet another nor'easter is set to impact the region Monday night into Tuesday. The area is still attempting to dig out from the last two storms that struck in less than a week, just days apart. The new system is poised to dump at least another 6 to 8 inches of snow in the region, but the storm's exact path is still a bit uncertain, although the biggest impact is likely to be along the eastern portion of New England.  
  6. Police in Mexico announced that they have ruled out terrorism or organized crime in the ferry blast at Playa del Carmen that injured more than two dozen in February, including U.S. tourists. According to Mexican officials, the device was rudimentary or homemade, and noted that organized crime would never have drawn the attention to themselves, and there was no motive for a terrorist attack. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico also issued an updated travel warning that narrowed restrictions to certain neighborhoods in Playa del Carmen amid what they called an ongoing security threat. 
  7. Following a 911 call originating from a cell phone, the officer slain in Clinton, Missouri last Tuesday was apparently sent to the wrong address. Authorities have indicated that the call to 911, in which dispatchers could only hear two women screaming, likely originated from an address in another city--Windsor--about 20 miles away from Clinton. Since the call came from a cell phone, officials are unsure if the error was computer or human generated, and an investigation into the deadly incident is ongoing.  
  8. A passenger jet burst into flames after skidding off the runway during a landing at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal on Monday around 2:20 p.m. local time, killing at least 39 people. The US-Bangla Airlines Flight 211, a Bombardier Dash 8 Q400, was arriving from Dhaka, Bangladesh when it reportedly made an unbalanced landing and skidded off the runway, then burst into flames. According to airport officials, there were 71 people onboard the aircraft, and all surviving  passengers sustained some type of injury, many of whom were critically injured.  
  9. A deadly explosion in Austin, Texas this morning killed one individual, a teenager, and seriously injured one woman. The blast, which occurred in a single family home, occurred around 6:44 a.m., in the northeast section of the city. Austin police are investigating the incident with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. According to reports, investigators are looking into the possibility that the explosion may be connected to an earlier blast that occurred in Austin on March 2.  

Kimberly Arsenault Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.