Why did the chopper crash?

October 5, 2011 1:32:53 PM PDT
The chopper has been pulled from the water, and is now getting reassembled at a hangar in Brooklyn, as federal safety investigators try to figure out why the helicopter crashed yesterday in the East River.

The Bell 206 chopper - piloted by a man who manages the airport in Linden, New Jersey, where our NewsCopter 7 is home based - was on a private tour of the City. Or at least it was supposed to be. Paul Dudley knew the family he was going to fly around Manhattan - a man, his wife, their daughter, and the daughter's partner. The daughter was here from Australia to celebrate her 40th birthday.

The chopper had taken off, but it didn't get far from the East 34th Street helipad - when it suddenly started spinning out of control, lurched backwards, dipped its landing pads into the water and then flipped over. It hit hard and it sank fast.

The birthday celebrant was dead; her partner and her mother are still in critical condition.

Now there are calls to ban all non-essential helicopter flights in Manhattan.

We'll have the latest on the investigation into the crash, the reaction, and the condition of the victims, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, we're taking a closer look at the big changes coming to health care next year. The new provisions of the health care reform law kick in - and they're supposed to make it easier for consumers to understand things like co-pays and deductibles, and how various plans compare to each other. But until then, choosing a health care plan and provider remains daunting, to say the least. Consumer Reports helps us analyze all the data and make the right decision.

Did you see the new poll about U.S. veterans and their views about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? The Pew Research Center says one in three vets of the post 9-11 military believes those two wars were not worth fighting. The reasons: The costs and benefits to the U.S.

A new poll is out today from the Pew Research Center that finds one in three U.S. veterans of the post-9/11 military believes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not worth fighting given the costs and benefits to the US. In addition, most vets think that after a decade of war, the U.S. should now concentrate more on its domestic problems.

And it was interesting to see the money guru and multi-billionaire Warren Buffett do battle with the man he supports for the Presidency - Barack Obama.

Mr. Buffett has now objected to the so-called "Buffett Rule" because the Obama Administration has taken Buffett's attempt to have his super-wealthy friends pay more taxes and used it to hike taxes for anyone earning more than $1 million a year.

Mr. Buffett does not want earned income included in this calculation. He was referring in his criticism to his fellow billionaires who pay a low rate because they don't "earn" income - they make money on their investments through capital gains and dividends. He reportedly doesn't want earned income - like wages and salaries - included. Others have made a similar argument. And because these uber-billionaires can afford to pay more taxes, increasing their load could take care of much of the revenue-generation problem.

The irony is that the tax-anyone-earning-more than $1 million has not much of a chance of passing in Congress. Buffett's original idea - taxing the super-billionaires - would likely pass.

I'm just sayin'.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg with his stunningly beautiful AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.


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