New York Helicopter Crash Victim From Reno - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

New York Helicopter Crash Victim From Reno

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One of five victims killed in a helicopter crash in New York is from Reno. Police identified 29-year-old Tristan Hill on Monday. Hill was a 2007 graduate from Galena High School, where he helped the Grizzlies win the '07 basketball state championship. Tom Maurer was his coach, who found out about Hill's death around midnight.

"I haven't slept since," Maurer said. "It's like losing a son and I mean that sincerely. I lost family members. It feels as hard and as painful as that."

Hill was working for Sightsy, onboard a chartered photographing helicopter flight when it crashed into the East River. The pilot survived but all five passengers died.

"The five people besides the pilot were all tightly harnessed, so those harnesses had to be cut and removed in order to get these folks off this helicopter," Daniel Nigro, NYC Fire Commissioner said. "It took awhile for the divers to get those people out. They worked very quickly, as fast as they could."

The pilot says a tether from the front passenger's harness wrapped around the fuel shutoff lever, cutting off fuel to the engine. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

Hill played basketball at Delta College in Stockton, Calif. before finishing his playing days at Missouri Valley College. He returned to Reno where he helped start the Northern Nevada Blue Chips Camp with other area basketball players like Luke Babbitt and Armon Johnson. He also coached youth basketball at the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows, coming full-circle from when he played in the same program as a kid.

"You hear the news and you hope it's not true," Mike Wurm, Executive Director at the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows said. "Everywhere he was at, people fell in love with Tristan. He has one of those personalities. You know, he's full of life and always optimistic and full of good things."

Maurer says Hill was one of the most passionate people he knew, and was always willing to give back to the kids in our community. Just last week, Hill sent a text to Maurer to let him know he sent $500 for the Hug High basketball program.

"Tristan was always in first place," Maurer said. "He was always there. He was always asking 'How can I help, coach?'"

Hill coached with other area basketball players like Luke Babbitt and Armon Johnson

Maurer says Hill was engaged to be married, with a wedding planned for May.  People close to him say he was "an amazing person."

"We talk a lot about basketball, learning life skills and anybody that's listening, find a good role model like Tristan," Maurer said. "I think his parents should be very, very, very proud. He's a Hill and their parents taught responsibility, communication, all the values, life skills."

"Tristan was one of those guys that when he touched your life, it really meant a lot to you because he was just a kid that was going to do great things and that's cut way too short," Wurm said.

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