New York helicopter crash: Pilot killed in skyscraper collision

The pilot of a helicopter has died after it crash landed on top of a skyscraper in Manhattan.

The helicopter burst into flames on hitting the AXA Equitable Center, but there were no other casualties.

The pilot has been identified as Tim McCormack, a veteran aviator. An investigation is underway.

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Eyewitnesses said the building shook with the impact and they were reminded of the plane attacks on the city in September 2001.

Officials quickly ruled out any terrorist element to the crash.H

It occurred on a rainy and foggy Monday afternoon at 787 Seventh Avenue, just north of Times Square.

The twin-engine Agusta A109E, carrying only the pilot, had taken off from a heliport on Manhattan’s east side at 13:32 local time. It was reportedly heading to Linden Airport in New Jersey.

Eleven minutes later it plunged into the top of the 54-storey office building, in what was described as a forced or emergency landing.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the helicopter was “pretty obliterated… it was obviously a very hard hit”.

National Transportation Safety Board officials will be looking into why the helicopter, which officials said was engaged in “executive travel”, was flying in such poor weather.

Mr de Blasio said it was “an unusual situation for sure”, and the helicopter would have needed special permits from LaGuardia Airport in the New York City borough of Queens.

The Federal Aviation Administration said its controllers would not have been handling the flight.

The building is about half a mile from Trump Tower, and airspace has been under flight restrictions since that building’s owner Donald Trump became president.

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