DALLAS-On Monday, the Dallas Fire-Rescue department received word that one of their own was killed. Fire-Rescue Officer, Brian McDaniel, tragically lost his life in a helicopter crash while on vacation in New York City after the helicopter he was riding in crashed into New York’s East River.
Although the helicopter made a safe emergency landing into the River, McDaniel and four other passengers drowned. The pilot of the helicopter escaped safely. Initial reports indicate that McDaniel and his fellow passengers were tethered to the helicopter with life-saving safety harnesses. The flight was a “doors-off” photography and sightseeing experience of New York City. The harnesses used to keep McDaniel and the others safely in their helicopter while leaning outside to snap photos is what kept them all in the helicopter according to several reports to date.
A Liberty Helicopter Eurocopter AS350, went down in the East River, near Roosevelt Island in New York, at approximately 7:00 p.m. that evening while carrying a group of five people for a private photoshoot.
Officer McDaniel, 26, was an almost two-year member of the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department, and was assigned to Fire Station 36, on the C-shift. Officer McDaniel was single, and had no children, but was immediately survived by his Father, of Dallas; and his Mother and older Brother, of Denver, CO.
“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 department said after learning of his passing.
The Dallas Fire-Rescue Department held a memorial ceremony for McDaniel so some of those he worked with could share a bit of what they believed was so special about him.
“It was so amazing to hear each of them talk; but even more impressive was to witness the impact one person could have on a group of people in such a short career,” the department said.
On Tuesday, three days after the crash, the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department was able to bring their brother home. After arriving at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, McDaniel was escorted, with a compliment of the Dallas Police Department and Fire Department to Sparman-Crane Funeral Home.
“Thank you to everyone who played a role in bringing our brother home to us,” the department later said.
FLYNYON, which now specializes in aerial photography tours, ironically had its beginnings helping first responders at the Jersey Shore in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
FLYNYON CEO Patrick Day logged countless hours in the months after Hurricane Sandy donating helicopter air time to Ocean County’s numerous emergency services personnel and local emergency management officials.
For weeks, Day, prior to launching FLYNYON stationed on of his helicopters at the small Lakewood Airport. From there, firefighters, police officers, police chiefs, mayors and OEM services were provided with countless hours of donated flight time by Day so those officials can assess Sandy’s storm damage and impact from above, often times in places that were hard to access from the ground. Day’s volunteer services to the Jersey Shore’s police and firefighters served as an invaluable tool to those who otherwise would not have had access to such services.