A helicopter crash-landed on the roof of a 54-story office building in midtown Manhattan Monday, sparking a fire and killing one person, authorities say.
A call about the incident at the AXA Equitable Center on Seventh Avenue and West 51st Street came in shortly before 2 p.m. The NYPD confirmed the hard landing on the roof of 787 Seventh Avenue; it wasn't clear why the chopper would have tried to land there, nor was it immediately clear who owned the chopper.
A senior official told News 4 the pilot, identified by a manager at Linden Municipal Airport as Tim McCormack, had just dropped off a passenger at the East 34th Steet heliport, and may have been making his way back to the chopper's base in Linden, New Jersey, when the crash occurred.
That path would have taken the helicopter up the East River, across Manhattan and then down the Hudson River past the Statue of Liberty. Officials are still unsure how the aircraft ended up flying over Midtown, or why it was flying in the poor weather conditions — which could have disoriented McCormack, the senior official said.
The airport manager, Paul Dudley, said that McCormack was highly trained and experienced, with intimate experience with the area. Dudley believes that McCormack chose to go to the roof to spare people on the ground.
Police Commissioner James O'Neill said the chopper was airborne for about 11 minutes before crashing.
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