A helicopter crashed into the rooftop of a Manhattan building on Monday before bursting into flames, forcing the building to evacuate and killing the pilot. According to CBS New York, the helicopter hit the roof of a 51-story Midtown building around 1:45 p.m. local time.
Governor Andrew Cuomo assured nervous New Yorkers that the incident wasn’t related to terrorism. He explained that the pilot was forced to attempt to make an “emergency” landing on top of the building despite the fact that there is no helipad on the building. After making a “hard landing” at a high rate of speed, a fire was sparked, though it was brought under control rapidly.
“The preliminary information is that there was a helicopter that made a forced landing, an emergency landing or landed on the roof of the building for one reason or another. There was a fire that happened when the helicopter hit the roof,” Cuomo said.
“People who were in the building said they felt the building shake. The fire department believes the fire is under control. There may have been casualties involved in people in the helicopter. We don’t know what caused the helicopter to land on top of the building but people in the building itself, nobody has been hurt.”
The Fire Department of New York confirmed in a tweet that they were able to respond to the crash and extinguish the fire before it could spread.
#FDNY confirms a helicopter has crash-landed onto the roof of 787 7th Ave in Manhattan. The fire has been extinguished, and members continue to operate in response to fuel leaking from the helicopter. There is currently one fatality reported.— FDNY (@FDNY) June 10, 2019
No debris from the crash fell off the building and the only damage to the building happened on the roof of the AXA Equitable Center.
Some of the building’s inhabitants said that they felt the helicopter strike the building and heard an explosion as it landed. One person said it felt like a small earthquake. Cuomo sympathized with New Yorkers who experienced the tragic events on 9/11 and may have felt an echo of that incident today.
Eric Ripert’s famed Le Bernardin restaurant is located on the bottom floor of the building. He was forced to evacuate his staff and guests after the helicopter struck. According to The Blast, he announced that the restaurant would be closed Monday evening.
The streets surrounding the buildings were closed to pedestrians and vehicles as well.
President Trump weighed in on the crash, saying that he had been briefed on the situation. He thanked the FDNY for their quick response. He also offered any help that the city needed from the White House.