This weekend's helicopter crash on the Hudson River highlights once again the need for improved safety and stricter standards of the air-tour industry. Congressman Sires held a meeting today with Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Councilwoman Beth Mason of Hoboken and Freeholder Anthony Romano, as well as elected officials of Weehawken to request a ban on the helicopter tourist industry and also the concern both communities have regarding the increased helicopter traffic, safety issues and quality of life impact.
"Tourist helicopters are completely out of control," said Mayor Zimmer. "They are too frequent, too low, and too loud, and we need a mitigation plan along with the assistance of the Department of Homeland Security that puts the quality of life of our communities before New York's tourism interests."
"The health, safety, and welfare of residents is the number one priority of elected officials. I am proud to work with Congressman Sires to find a solution that will stop the dangerous practice of tourist helicopters flying over our neighborhoods" said Hoboken Councilwoman Beth Mason.
"The recent crash that took place this past Sunday on June 30, 2013 is another example of the need for stricter regulations banning helicopters along residential areas in Hudson County." said Sires. "We must do more to prevent these types of terrible accidents and increase efforts to drastically improve safety before another tragedy takes place similar to the crash in 2009."
While the Federal Aviation Administration has taken steps to improve the safety of the air-tour industry, several accidents have still occurred. The National Transportation Safety Board has repeatedly urged the FAA and tour operators to improve safety. The helicopter traffic along Hudson County has increased significantly; the helicopters are flying very low and very close to the shore line along the Hudson River.
"I want to thank Congressman Sires for taking the lead on the important issues regarding the safety and quality of life for the residents of Weehawken pertaining to continued low flying helicopters along the shore lines of Weehawken and our neighboring towns. I look forward to working with him and my colleagues on this very important issue" said Weehawken First Ward Councilwoman Carmela Silvestri Ehret.
"Having helicopters fly at lower altitudes creates a constant noise nuisance and safety issues for those in New Jersey living along the Hudson River. With 20,000 helicopters and other aircrafts flying over the area, the FAA needs to do more to regulate this traffic. As a member of US House of Representatives Transportation Committee I will continue to work with my colleagues and the FAA to ensure these actions move forward for the safety of residents in my District."