by INÊS LOPES [email protected]
Algarve resident Harriet Nicholson, who was on a tourist helicopter that crashed into the East River in New York last month, died in hospital in the early hours of Sunday, November 6.
The New York medical examiner’s office said the cause of death was a shortage of oxygen to the brain, a result of near-drowning.
Her husband Paul Nicholson, who survived the crash along with pilot Paul Dudley, told Algarve resident and friend Chris Wright on Monday night that Harriet was “in good spirits” the day before she died.
Chris Wright told the Algarve Resident: “Paul told me she was eating well and had been doing some light work in the gym to help move the mucous and foreign matter that had been sucked into her lungs when she was underwater.
“She had been talking to Paul about arrangements for Christmas and a holiday they were planning to take in January. This came as a complete shock to us all as Harriet had been making slow but steady progress since regaining consciousness.
“Our deepest sympathy and prayers are extended to Paul and Harriet’s family.”
Ann and Eric Elliott, neighbours of the couple in the Algarve, told the Algarve Resident on Monday: “We understand that she was doing so well, even making some phone calls to England from her bedside two days ago and this has come as a great shock to all their friends.”
Harriet Nicholson, 60, who lived near Olhão with her husband Paul, was in New York last month to celebrate her daughter Sonia Marra’s 40th birthday.
Along with husband Paul, daughter Sonia Marra and her daughter’s partner Helen Tamaki, Harriet boarded a tourist helicopter piloted by Paul Dudley on October 4.
Seconds after takeoff from the East 34th Street Heliport, the Bell 206 helicopter experienced problems and fell into the water.
Sonia Marra drowned in the crash and Helen Tamaki died a few days later at Bellevue Hospital , where Harriet was also being assisted.
The couple were keen supporters of the Olhanense football team and were often seen at events organised by the Olhanense Expat Supporters Group.
It is proposed to fly Harriet’s body back to Buckinghamshire for a funeral next week, said Chris Wright.
The crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.