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'The Floor Moved Beneath Me': Helicopter Pilot Killed In Crash-Landing On Manhattan Building

Timothy McCormack and his private copter.
Timothy McCormack and his private copter. Photo Credit: FACEBOOK

A helicopter pilot was killed while crash-landing on the roof of a building on 7th Avenue between 51st and 52nd streets in Manhattan Monday afternoon, authorities confirmed.

Authorities initially launched a mass casualty response after the chopper apparently tried to make an emergency landing in the rain and fog atop the financial building near Times Square around 1:45 p.m.

However, the NYPD later reported that only the pilot -- identified as Tim McCormack of Clinton Corners in Dutchess County, NY -- was the only victim. He was reported deceased at 2:30 p.m.

McCormack, a retired fire chief whose father and grandfather were both Poughkeepsie firefighters, had taken off from 34th Street Helipad just after 1:30 en route to Linden, the FAA said.

A two-alarm fire that broke out in the crash was being doused, police said. 

Fuel was leaking onto a lower roof on the 51st Street side from the chopper, which the FAA said was an Agusta A109E flying in restricted airspace (There's a two-mile, 3,000-foot flight restriction around Trump Tower, roughly six blocks away).

A comprehensive search turned up no other victims, the FDNY said.

The building -- known as the Axa Equitable Center -- has tenants that include BNP Paribas, Citibank and the exclusive Le Bernardin restaurant.

"The floor literally moved beneath me," said a 10-year BNP Paribas employee from Hillsdale who was on the 9th floor when the chopper crashed.

The next thing she knew, everyone was being told through loudspeakers to evacuate.

Evacuees were stuck on the stairs for more than 20 minutes because the elevators were shut down, the Hillsdale woman said.

Outside, she could see smoke on top of the building.

"It was mayhem. We didn't know what was going on," she said. "You automatically think 9/11."

Employees were told they won't be returning at least until Wednesday.

The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation, the FAA said.

Authorities banned helicopter rooftop landing pads in Manhattan after five people were killed in a May 1977 crash atop what was then Pan Am (now MetLife) building at Park Avenue and East 45th Street.

The aftemath.

COURTESY: National Emergency Incident Communications

ABOVE: Courtesy National Emergency Incident Communications

The fire was doused.



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