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Mar 19, 6:01 PM EDT

NTSB urges ban on copter flights with unsafe harness systems

NEW YORK (AP) -- New York City's deadly helicopter crash has prompted the National Transportation Safety Board to call on federal regulators to prohibit commercial flights that use passenger harness systems that do not allow for easy release.

The NTSB's recommendation on Monday comes after last week's helicopter crash in the East River. Five passengers who couldn't free themselves from their harnesses drowned. The pilot escaped.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday temporarily grounded open-door flights involving restraints that cannot be quickly released. It also said it was conducting a review of its rules governing such flights.

NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt applauds the agency's move, but says "definitive action needs to be taken."

FAA spokesman Greg Martin says the grounding was a first step and that more formal action is expected.

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