A helicopter crashed onto the rooftop midtown Manhattan high-rise in New York City about 2 p.m. Monday, June 10, killing the pilot. No one else was injured in the crash, which sparked a fire and shut down several blocks in the city. The helicopter slammed into the more-than-50-story building at 787 7th Avenue, rattling desks and driving shaken officer workers into the streets. At least one part of the “doomed chopper” fell 50 stories to the ground below.
The pilot has been identified as Tim McCormack, a New York resident. He was flying an Agusta A109E owned by Daniele Bodini, a businessman who commutes to New York City from upstate New York. McCormack lived in Clinton Corners, New York.
At 2:02 p.m., the FDNY tweeted an alert that read, “MAN 2-ALARM 787 7 AVE, HIGH RISE HELICOPTER CRASH INTO BUILDING.” They later revised their initial alert to clarify that the helicopter crashed “on top of” the building, not “into” it. 787 7th Avenue is the address of the AXA Equitable Center, which is a 54-story office building. According to WiredNewYork.com, the skyscraper was built in 1986 and is the 102nd highest building in the world.
The Midtown North NYPD Twitter account informed those in the area that “7th Avenue south of West 57th Street is closed to vehicular traffic. Please avoid the area of 787 7th Avenue. Updates to follow.” Shortly after that initial tweet, they added “West 51st & West 52nd Street, 6th-7th Avenue is CLOSED to vehicular and pedestrian traffic as well.”
According to ABC 7, there was one fatality as a result of the crash but no other injuries reported within the building. The New York Times later reported that the one fatality in the crash was the pilot and that there were no other passengers on board the helicopter.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, who responded to the scene following the incident, said that there was no indication that it was an act of terrorism. NBC New York points out that weather was poor at the time of the crash, but that it “wasn’t clear why the chopper would have tried to land there, nor was it clear who owned the chopper.” It was raining at the time, and The Weather Channel reports that the current New York City weather forecast also includes winds at 9-11 miles per hour and visibility of 2.0 miles.
“If you’re a New Yorker you have a level of PTSD from 9/11 and I remember that morning all too well. So as soon as you hear an aircraft hit a building, I think my mind goes where every New Yorker’s mind goes,” Cuomo. “There’s no indication that that’s the case. The only indication was a helicopter had to do an emergency or a hard landing, or crashed onto the rooftop of the building, causing a fire. But there’s no indication of anything more than that.”
Lance Koonce, who witnessed the crash, shared a video of smoke coming from the building’s rooftop, saying that he “looked up and saw sheet of flame on roof and then smoke.”
NBC’s Ron Allen shared video of evacuations as a result of the crash. The video shows people exiting the building into the rain, as sirens blare in the background. The evacuation looked calm and organized, and the people captured on video do not appear distressed.
Cooper Lawrence shared a 38-second video of a helicopter flying erratically through the wind, rains, and heavy cloud coverage, reporting that the helicopter caught on camera was the same one that crashed atop the midtown building.
At 2:19 p.m., the NYPD confirmed on Twitter that the fire caused by what they are calling “a helicopter hard landing” was extinguished, though they advised that people nearby continue to avoid the area.
President Trump responded to the incident on Twitter, giving praise to the “Phenomenal job by our GREAT First Responders who are currently on the scene” and “all [they] do 24/7/365.” He added that “The Trump Administration stands ready should you need anything at all.”