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Passenger killed in New York helicopter crash was Butler University grad

NEW YORK – One of the passengers killed in a helicopter crash in New York has an Indiana tie.

Daniel Thompson, 34, was one of five people killed when the helicopter plunged into the East River Sunday.

Thompson attended Butler University from 2002 to 2006 and earned a degree in arts administration. A Butler University spokesman confirmed the information Tuesday. Thompson is originally from Springfield, Illinois. He later attended New York University. The New York Times reported that Thompson was an employee for the helicopter company.

Thompson was also president of the nonprofit Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, which memorialized him in a post Monday night.

“Daniel was a treasured member of the YNYC Mixed Ensemble since 2008, serving on the board for eight years and taking over as its President in 2016 to lead the non-profit,” the group wrote on its Facebook page. “He was an integral part of growing the organization, helping to achieve its mission of bringing innovative choral music to new audiences. His love of music and dedication to the organization and its members will be greatly missed.”

The helicopter’s pilot, Richard Vance, was the only survivor. According to the Associated Press, he told authorities that a passenger’s bag may have hit an emergency fuel shutoff switch just before the aircraft plunged into the water.

The chopper overturned and then sank, killing Thompson and four others: Brian McDaniel, 26; Trevor Cadigan, 26; Carla Vallejos Blanco, 29; and Tristan Hill, 29.

McDaniel was a Dallas fire officer; Cadigan was a journalist originally from Dallas who recently moved to New York. Both were friends from high school.

Carla Vallejos Blanco was a tourist from Corrientes, Argentina, who’d only been in New York for a few days, according to her country’s consul in New York, Mateo Estreme.

Hill had previously been a basketball operations assistant with the Westchester Knicks, an NBA G League affiliate of the New York Knicks. The New York Times reported that Hill also worked for the helicopter tour company. He had recently been engaged.

The crash remains under investigation.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report