Trevor Cadigan smiles brightly into the camera, the setting sun casting an orange glow inside the helicopter. He then flips the camera around to show the sun as the helicopter gains altitude.
That's the final image from his video of a helicopter ride Sunday. Shortly after that, the aircraft crashed into New York's East River, killing Cadigan, 26, and four others.
The other victims were Carla Vallejos Blanco, 29; Daniel Thompson, 34; Tristan Hill, 29; and Brian McDaniel, 26.
Cadigan and McDaniel graduated from Bishop Lynch High School in downtown Dallas, according to CNN affiliate KDAF.
Emergency workers reached the helicopter, but the passengers were tightly harnessed in the open-door helicopter and had to be cut out, Fire Department of New York Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. The helicopter pilot, the only survivor, was able to free himself.
"(Cadigan) was always happy and full of life," says friend and former girlfriend Jordan McDaniel. "He was the type of guy that would do anything for you. And (he) was extremely ambitious with a bright future."
Business Insider, at which Cadigan interned, agreed.
"He was a smart, talented, and ambitious young journalist and producer who was well-liked and made a big contribution," the company said in a statement. "Our hearts go out to his family and friends."
CNN's Rob Frehse and Steve Almasy contributed to this report.