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Helicopter crashes onto skyscraper roof near Times Square

AP|
​Manhattan helicopter crash
1/6

​Manhattan helicopter crash

A helicopter crashed on the roof of a rain-shrouded midtown Manhattan skyscraper, killing the pilot and briefly triggering memories of 9/11, after an erratic trip across some of the nation's most restricted airspace. Authorities said they did not suspect terrorism.

In pic: This photo released by the New York City Fire Department shows damage caused by a helicopter crash, south of Central Park in New York.

AP
​What happened
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​What happened

The crash near Times Square and Trump Tower on Monday shook the 750-foot (229-meter) AXA Equitable building, sparked a fire, and forced office workers to flee on elevators and down stairs.

The pilot was the only person aboard, and there were no other reports of injuries.

In pic: New York City Police and Fire Department personnel secure the scene in front of a building in midtown Manhattan where a helicopter crash landed.

AP
​What caused the crash
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​What caused the crash

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.

In pic: This photo released by the New York City Fire Department shows damage caused by a helicopter crash, south of Central Park in New York.

AP
​Flight restriction
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​Flight restriction

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-kilometer) radius of Trump Tower, which is less than a half-mile (0.8 kilometers) from the crash site.

"There's something mysterious here," Mayor Bill de Blasio told, saying officials were scrutinizing video of a very erratic flight and authorities needed to find out more about the pilot at the time he decided to take off.

One lawmaker called for "non-essential" helicopter flights over Manhattan to be banned.

In pic: Passersby watch the scene at the site of a helicopter crash in New York.

AP
​The crash
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​The crash

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 kilometers) away. Police Commissioner James O'Neill said it may have been returning to its home airport in Linden, New Jersey.

He suspects that a mechanical problem or the weather overwhelmed him and the helicopter, Dudley said. "I believe he tried to get on the roof and spare the people on the ground."

The crash happened shortly before 2 pm Monday, when clouds obscured the roof of the building. Rescue vehicles swarmed to the scene a few blocks from Rockefeller Center.

Image Credit: twitter.com/NYGovCuomo

Others
​Evacuation
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​Evacuation

Pedro Rodriguez, a pastry line cook at Le Bernardin, a well-known restaurant in the AXA Equitable 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, but he was rattled because he immediately thought of the September 11 attacks. "It's scary when something like this happens," he said.

Agencies
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Copyright © 2019 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service