Briton killed in US crash was on 40th birthday trip
Rob Hastings is Deputy News Editor at The Independent. He has served on the news desk since 2010, and also writes travel articles, music reviews and features. In 2015 he shortlisted for the Washington Post’s Laurence Stern Fellowship for a series on reportage features from Iran.
Thursday 06 October 2011
A British woman killed on a helicopter trip in New York on Tuesday was named yesterday as Sonia Marra, who had organised the visit to celebrate her 40th birthday.
The UK expatriate, who was living in Australia, was travelling with her partner, Helen Tamaki, 43, and her British mother and stepfather, Harriet and Paul Nicholson, when the helicopter plunged into New York's East River shortly after take-off.
According to reports, Ms Marra was trapped inside the helicopter as it sank about 50 feet (15 metres) below the surface of the swift-moving water.
Ms Tamaki, believed to be a New Zealander, and Mrs Nicholson, 60, were seriously injured in the crash and are in a critical condition in New York's Bellevue Hospital. The 56-year-old American pilot, Paul Dudley, and Mr Nicholson, 71, have since been released from hospital.
The helicopter was on a private tour when it crashed into the river at 3.20pm local time, shortly after lifting off from the busy 34th Street Heliport.
Witnesses said the helicopter was sputtering and appeared to be in mechanical distress before coming down in the river. A dozen boats and divers took part in a rescue effort before the passengers were pulled from the water.
Ms Marra had worked at Galluzzo's fruit market in Glebe, Sydney, for the last three months, according to the The Sydney Morning Herald.
Joe Galluzzo told the newspaper she was a "bubbly" woman who was full of life, and that Ms Tamaki had surprised Ms Marra with plans to go to New York for her 40th birthday.
"She will be so missed," Mr Galluzzo said. "She had a personality and a half."
- 1 Edward Heath 'raped 12 year-old boy at Mayfair flat'
- 2 Sabrina Corgatelli: US hunting tourist posts picture of herself with dead giraffe after Cecil the lion outrage
- 3 Porn block in India: hundreds of sexual websites banned, internet outraged
- 4 Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale divorce: One of music industry’s most enduring couples announce split after 12 years of marriage
- 5 A-level results 2015: UK exam board OCR admits it 'estimates' hundreds of pupils' grades after papers 'go missing'
Edward Heath 'raped 12 year-old boy at Mayfair flat'
Sabrina Corgatelli: US hunting tourist posts picture of herself with dead giraffe after Cecil the lion outrage
'Gene drive': Scientists sound alarm over supercharged GM organisms which could spread in the wild and cause environmental disasters
Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale divorce: One of music industry’s most enduring couples announce split after 12 years of marriage
Labour leadership race: Jeremy Corbyn could be the next Prime Minister, says Ken Clarke
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
Landlords renting properties to illegal immigrants to face up to five years in prison
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an intermediate help de...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist personal injury...
£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Join a fast growing, UK based I...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An experienced TLO is required to manage, deli...