NEW YORK – A helicopter crashed into a building on 7th Avenue on Monday, killing the pilot, starting a fire and halting traffic on nearby streets in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, the city Fire Department said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said preliminary information indicated the helicopter made an emergency landing on the building. He said he did not know why.
“There was a fire when the helicopter hit the roof,” he said. “We believe the fire is under control.”
“Most importantly, (there is) no evidence that it was anything other than an aircraft accident, an aircraft emergency landing, etc.” he said.
The crash drew a major police and fire response to the area near Times Square. Streets around the crash site were closed on a gray, rainy day in the city.
Cuomo said no one in the building was injured. The New York City Fire Department said the pilot died in the crash, not far from Rockefeller Center and Times Square.
“People who were in the building felt the building shake,” Cuomo said. “Many of the people in the building voluntarily left, but there was no official evacuation of the building.”
Franklin Acosta said he was in his 38th floor office at the William Lea outsourcing company nearby when he heard what sounded like a small airplane passing by.
“Then it stopped, and the building shook,” Acosta said. “I didn’t wait. I told my people to come down and get out of the building.”
Cuomo said police and fire officials were still obtaining information on the crash. There was no immediate indication of terrorism, he said.
“If you are a New Yorker you have a level of PTSD from 9/11” Cuomo said. “I remember that morning all too well.”
The White House said President Trump had been briefed on the crash and was monitoring events.
Contributing: Elizabeth Lawrence and Joseph Spector, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
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