June 17, 2019

Midtown Manhattan helicopter crash: Pilot radioed he was lost, official says

12 June 2019, 04:24 | Glen Norman

NYC Helicopter Pilot May Have Maneuvered ‘To Spare the People on the Ground:’ Fellow Pilot

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio addresses the media after a helicopter crash-landed on top of a high-rise in midtown Manhattan in New York

NY police Commissioner James O'Neill said Monday it took off from a nearby heliport 11 minutes before the crash, which was described as a "hard landing". It's unclear where it was headed.

The helicopter's home base was an airport in Linden, New Jersey, where Paul Dudley, the airport manager, identified the pilot as Tim McCormack.

The city fire department said it had extinguished a fire on the building's roof - the height of which posed a challenge to firefighters.

Tim McCormack, 58, was only certified to fly under regulations known as visual flight rules, which require generally good weather and clear conditions, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. "There was a fire that happened when the helicopter hit the roof".

Dudley said he believed that McCormack had chose that building as the best possible spot - or the least bad spot, considering the density of midtown Manhattan - to put the helicopter down.

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In 2014, McCormack was the pilot of a helicopter that was forced to make an emergency landing at the West 30th Street Heliport.

Working for a bank on the building's seventh floor, Kendall Sawyer felt a shake - "jarring enough to notice", but workers weren't sure what it was, she said. Last year, five passengers were killed when a sightseeing helicopter plunged into the East River. He was also certified as a flight instructor past year, the FAA said.

"I want to just say, thank God for that". "So as soon as you hear an aircraft hit a building, I think my mind goes where every New Yorker's mind goes". "But there's no indication that that is the case", Cuomo said.

In 2006, New York Yankees pitcher Corey Lidle's single-engine plane slammed into the 20th floor of a building on Manhattan's Upper East Side, killing Lidle and his flight instructor.

The FAA issued a statement providing further details, including that the helicopter was an Agusta A109E.

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Brazy said the pilot never made such a request and didn't contact air traffic control.

A view of 787 7th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. Eyewitnesses saw the helicopter going up and down and into the clouds, until it eventually crash-landed on the top of the building and went up in smoke.

The crashed helicopter was owned through a real estate firm and used for "executive travel", authorities said.

"There was a moment in which we all couldn't get out of the building because we're all just backlogged in there", Aries said.

The passenger said there was "nothing out of the ordinary" about his encounter with McCormack, said Brazy, of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

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President Trump was briefed on the incident and lauded the emergency personnel who responded to the scene. Before the alarms started to blare and workers had a full understanding of what was happening, security was ordering them to grab their belongings and evacuate. "Phenomenal job by our GREAT First Responders who are now on the scene", the president said in a tweet.

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