A former San Joaquin Delta College basketball player was one of the five passengers killed in a helicopter crash into the East River in New York.

Tristan Hill, who played for the Mustangs from 2007-09, worked onboard a chartered photographing helicopter flight when it crashed on Sunday. 

Hill, 29, was a 6-foot-3 guard for Delta. He played high school basketball at Galena High School, helping the Grizzlies with the Nevada state title in 2007. He later played at Missouri Valley College, and worked for Sightsy, the company running the helicopter flights.

The other victims were identified by police as Brian McDaniel, a firefighter from Dallas; Trevor Cadigan, a video journalist who’d recently moved to the city; Carla Vallejos Blanco, a tourist from Argentina; and Daniel Thompson, who like Hill worked for the sightseeing ticket-selling company.

The nightmare scenario inside the crowded cabin of the Eurocopter AS350 emerged Monday as 14 National Transportation Security Board officials arrived in New York to determine the cause of the crash that killed five people.

Only the pilot, Richard Vance, survived.

The Liberty Helicopters chopper — which was chartered for FlyNYON for a “doors-off” photography tour — was cluttered with equipment.

About 11 minutes into the flight, some of the gear may have come loose and hooked the fuel shutoff lever, cutting the engine, the pilot said.

As the helicopter fell, Vance radioed, “Mayday. We got engine failure.”

The fatal move yanking the lever on the floor of the cabin sounded unusual but possible, an air safety consultant, Keith Mackey, said.

The lever is used to stop a fire.

“It would appear possible that if a strap from a suitcase were wrapped around it and the suitcase were pulled, it would cut the fuel off,” Mackey said.

Investigators were also examining whether six inflatable pontoons on the helicopter had properly deployed.

Video of the crash just after 7 p.m. Sunday showed the chopper slowly falling into the frigid river just off of E. 87th St.

Its rotors whipped the water before the aircraft flipped over, leaving its skids in the air. The passengers were submerged and strapped into their seats.

A police source said the helicopter may have turned over because one of the pontoons did not fully inflate.

“There are a whole lot of questions about this crash,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators cautioned that their probe was just getting underway.

The passengers were tightly harnessed in their seats, making it difficult to remove them from the water.

The helicopter hit the East River near Gracie Mansion — but first responders weren’t able to pull the bodies of the five victims from the aircraft until it had drifted to around 34th Street, police said. The current carried the copter downstream at about 3.5 mph.

A private tugboat helped with the rescue effort.

“We, at Liberty Helicopters, are deeply saddened by last night’s tragic events,” the charter company said on its website. “We are focused on supporting the families affected by this tragic accident and on fully cooperating with the FAA and NTSB investigations.”