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Third passenger dies in October helicopter crash on East River


crash Credit: Getty Images

The horrific helicopter crash on the East River last month claimed its third victim early Sunday, the Medical Examiner's Office confirmed.

Harriet Nicholson, 60, died at Bellevue Hospital from "respiratory complications of near-drowning" related to the fatal Oct. 4 flight, said Ellen Borakove, the medical examiner's spokeswoman. Nicholson, a British national living in Portugal, had been in critical condition.

The sightseeing chopper had taken off from the East 34th Street Heliport and was about to tour the New York City skyline when the pilot lost control.

Also in the 1976 Bell Ranger copter were Nicholson's husband, Paul, her daughter, Sonia Marra, and Marra's partner, Helen Tamaki. They were in the city celebrating Marra's 40th birthday.

Marra died after drowning in the East River, while Tamaki, 43, died on Oct. 11 also from respiratory complications.

Paul Nicholson, 71, survived the crash along with pilot Paul Dudley.

Federal investigators said in a preliminary report that the helicopter had been inspected just two days prior to the crash. A piece of the main rotor blade broke upon hitting the water, but a final report detailing the cause of the crash may not come for several months.

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