Senators want to know how FAA approved open-door flights

NEW YORK (AP) — A deadly helicopter crash has prompted New York’s senators to call for an investigation into how the Federal Aviation Administration ever approved open-door helicopter sightseeing flights and tight harness systems.

Democratic U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand (KEER’-sten JIHL’-uh-brand) made the demand in a joint letter on Sunday to the Department of Transportation’s inspector general.

They say “clearly something went remarkably wrong” with the FAA’s approval process that allowed helicopters that fly with their doors open, often so passengers can take pictures, and use harnesses that can’t be quickly released.

On Friday, the FAA temporarily grounded open-door flights and the use of tight seat restraints.

The ban came amid concerns such harnesses prevented passengers from escaping when their helicopter plunged into the East River last Sunday, killing five people.

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