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Pilot killed after helicopter crashes on top of high-rise building in New York City

By Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer
June 11, 2019, 7:53:50 AM EDT

A helicopter attempting to make an emergency landing instead made a crash landing on the roof of a 54-story high-rise building in midtown Manhattan on Monday afternoon, killing the pilot, The Associated Press reported.

The pilot has been identified as Tim McCormack, 58, who was described as a "highly experienced" pilot by Paul Dudley, the Linden Airport manager.

The crash, which occurred around 1:45 p.m. EDT, sparked a fire when the helicopter hit the roof. The fire was extinguished within about 30 minutes, according to New York City's Fire Department (FDNY). Officials from the FDNY said the helicopter's pilot was killed in the crash. After the blaze was put out, firefighters worked to contain fuel that was leaking from the stricken aircraft.

"The firefighters had to deal with a fire well above the 50th story, which is extraordinarily difficult under any circumstance -- and in the middle of this weather. FDNY did an extraordinary job today," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters at a press conference on Monday afternoon.

It was a privately-owned helicopter that crashed 11 minutes after leaving a helipad on 34th street, said NYPD Commissioner James P. O'Neill in a press conference.

The NYPD required pedestrians and motorists to use alternate routes due to traffic closures in place from 42nd to 57th Streets between Eighth Avenue and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan.

"Weather could have been a factor as flying conditions were poor at the time," AccuWeather Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

(AP / Mark Lennihan)

Doug Brazy, an investigator with the NTSB, at a news conference, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 in New York. He gave an update on Monday's helicopter crash on the roof of a rain-shrouded Manhattan skyscraper, which killed the pilot, Tim McCormack, of Clinton Corners, N.Y. (AP / Mark Lennihan)

(Image via FDNY)

This photo released by the New York Fire Department shows damage to the building at 787 7th Ave. in Manhattan.

(Image via FDNY)

Images from the scene of today’s helicopter crash at 787 7th Ave. in Manhattan.

Mark Lennihan/AP

Mist and smoke cover the top of a building near 51st Street and 7th Avenue Monday, June 10, 2019, in New York where a helicopter crashed on Monday.

(Image via Dallin Wardrop)

New York City road closures from the fire.

Mark Lennihan/AP

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center, and first responder personnel walk near the scene where a helicopter crash landed on top of a building in midtown Manhattan, Monday, June 10, 2019, in New York.

Mark Lennihan/AP

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, center, walks near the scene where a helicopter crashed on top of a building in midtown Manhattan, Monday, June 10, 2019, in New York.

Mark Lennihan/AP

A New York City firefighter responds to the scene where a helicopter crash-landed on the roof of a midtown Manhattan skyscraper, Monday, June 10, 2019, in New York.

Mark Lennihan/AP

Firefighters respond to the scene where a helicopter crashed and sparked a fire on the roof of a Manhattan skyscraper, Monday, June 10, 2019, in New York.


View of a helicopter crash scene down 51st Street in midtown, Manhattan.

"Around the time of the helicopter crash in New York City, conditions were overcast with widespread rain and visibility ranging between 1 and 3 miles. The base of the clouds was between 400 and 700 feet," Sosnowski added. The AXA Equitable Building stands at a height of 752 feet.

The crash landing occurred on the roof of the skyscraper at 787 Seventh Avenue, between 51st and 52nd Streets. The skyscraper is located right in the heart of Manhattan just blocks away from Rockefeller Center to the east and Times Square to the west. The area is a hub for tourists and is home to countless office buildings. The crash site is about a 6-minute walk from President Donald Trump's New York City apartment inside Trump Tower.

On Monday afternoon, the president posted a message to Twitter saying he was briefed on the crash and praising firefighters, police and medics who responded to the scene. He vowed that his administration "stands ready" for whatever the city may need in the wake of the tragedy.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke to reporters at the scene shortly after the crash and addressed the jitters felt by many New Yorkers in the immediate aftermath of the accident.

“If you’re a New Yorker, you have a level of PTSD, right, from 9/11. And I remember that morning all too well," Cuomo said, according to the AP. "So as soon as you hear an aircraft hit a building, I think my mind goes where every New Yorker’s mind goes."

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement that the pilot was the only person aboard the helicopter when it crashed, and that FAA air traffic controllers did not handle this helicopter's flight. Investigation into the probable cause of the accident is ongoing from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

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Due to emergency personnel presence, the New York City Police Department said that pedestrian and vehicle traffic is closed from 42nd to 57th streets between Eighth Avenue and Sixth Avenue.

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