Monday 21 October 2019

One dead after helicopter crashes onto building in Midtown Manhattan in New York

In this photo released on the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) twitter account, firefighters work on the scene of a helicopter that crash-landed on top of a high-rise in midtown Manhattan in New York on June 10, 2019
Credit: AFP PHOTO / Fire Department of New York
In this photo released on the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) twitter account, firefighters work on the scene of a helicopter that crash-landed on top of a high-rise in midtown Manhattan in New York on June 10, 2019 Credit: AFP PHOTO / Fire Department of New York
New York City firefighters suit up at the scene after a helicopter crashed atop a building and caused a fire in the Manhattan borough of New York, New York, U.S., June 10, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A view of 787 7th Avenue in midtown Manhattan where a helicopter was reported to have crashed in New York City. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo arrives at the scene after a helicopter crashed atop a building in Times Square and caused a fire in the Manhattan borough of New York. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
New York City police and firefighters arrive at the scene after a helicopter crashed atop a building in Times Square and caused a fire on the roof in the Manhattan borough of New York. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Emergency services first responders arrive at 787 7th Avenue in midtown Manhattan where a helicopter was reported to have crashed in New York City. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Gabriella Borter

A helicopter made a crash landing onto the roof of a midtown Manhattan skyscraper on Monday, killing at least one person and sending a plume of smoke skyward from the top of the building.

The crash occurred shortly before 2 p.m on a rainy, foggy day at the 50-story AXA Equitable Center at 787 Seventh Avenue. Dozens of emergency vehicles swarmed the busy area, a few blocks north of Times Square.

The city fire department said on Twitter around 2:40 p.m. that one unidentified person was killed. Media reports said the person was the helicopter pilot.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was at the scene soon after the crash, told reporters that it appeared a helicopter attempted a forced emergency landing on the roof and that no one inside the building had been injured. It was not clear if the weather was a contributing factor.

The police department called it a "hard landing" on Twitter.

Read more: History of helicopter crashes in New York

Nathan Hutton, who works in information technology for the French bank BNP Paribas on the 29th floor, said the building shook when the helicopter slammed into the roof.

"It felt like you were just standing there, and someone takes their hand and just shoves you," he said. "You felt it through the whole building."

Melvin Douglas, 50, who was selling umbrellas on the street, said he heard a "rumble" when the helicopter crash landed.

"I didn't see it, but I felt it," said Douglas. "Smoke was on top of the building."

A fire that broke out on the roof was quickly brought under control, the fire department said. The building was evacuated after the crash.

"Phenomenal job by our GREAT First Responders who are currently on the scene," U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter after being briefed on the crash.

"The Trump Administration stands ready should you need anything at all."

The AXA Equitable Center is more than 750 feet (229m) tall and was built in 1985. In addition to a number of corporate tenants, the building also houses Le Bernardin, one of New York City's most celebrated restaurants.

A roof helipad is not listed as one of the building's amenities on its website.

The skyscraper is managed by the Los Angeles-based CommonWealth Partners. Reached by telephone, LeAnn Holsapple, the office manager for CommonWealth, said the company had "no comment at this time."

Reuters

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