Pilot killed in NYC helicopter crash identified
The pilot who was killed when his helicopter crashed into a New York City skyscraper has been identified.
The real estate company that used the helicopter confirmed Monday that the pilot was Tim McCormack, of Clinton Corners, New York.
American Continental Properties said McCormack had flown for the company for the past five years. It said in a statement that "our hearts are with his family and friends."
McCormack was formerly a volunteer fire chief for the East Clinton Fire District.
FAA records said he had been certified in 2004 to fly helicopters and single-engine airplanes. He was certified as a flight instructor last year.
Authorities have said the helicopter was being used for executive travel.
A helicopter crashed on the roof of a rain-shrouded midtown Manhattan skyscraper Monday, killing the pilot and briefly triggering memories of 9/11, though it appeared to be an accident.
The crash near Times Square and Trump Tower shook the 750-foot (229-meter) AXA Equitable building, sparked a fire and forced office workers to flee on elevators and down stairs, witnesses and officials said.
The pilot was believed to be the only one aboard, and there were no other reports of injuries, authorities said.
It was not immediately clear what caused the crash, or why the Agusta A109E was flying in a driving downpour with low cloud cover and in the tightly controlled airspace of midtown Manhattan. A flight restriction in effect since President Donald Trump took office bans aircraft from flying below 3,000 feet (914 meters) within a 1-mile (1.6 km) radius of Trump Tower, which is less than a half-mile (0.8 kilometers) from the crash site.
The helicopter went down about 11 minutes after taking off from a heliport along the East River, a little more than a mile (1.6 km) away. Police Commissioner James O'Neill said it may have been returning to its home airport in Linden, New Jersey.
The 19-year-old helicopter was linked to a real estate company founded by Italian-born investor Daniele Bodini, according to Federal Aviation Administration records. The company referred an inquiry to a lawyer. A message was left with the attorney seeking comment.
Pedro Rodriguez, a pastry line cook at Le Bernardin, a well-known restaurant in the building, said workers got an announcement telling everyone to exit, and he later heard from people around him that there was a fire on the roof.
The evacuation was not chaotic, Rodriguez said, but he was rattled because he immediately thought of the Sept. 11 attacks.
"It's scary when something like this happens," he said.
The crash happened shortly before 2 p.m., when clouds obscured the roof of the building. Rescue vehicles swarmed to the scene a few blocks from Rockefeller Center.
"If you're a New Yorker, you have a level of PTSD, right, 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," Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters.
Videos posted by onlookers showed emergency vehicles in the street, but no obvious damage to the skyscraper. The fire department later tweeted a photo of the helicopter's wreckage that showed piles of burned debris on the roof.
Working for a bank on the building's seventh floor, Kendall Sawyer felt a shake — "jarring enough to notice," but workers weren't sure what it was, she said.