Helicopter in the air 11 minutes before NY crash

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NEW YORK (AP) — UPDATE (4:30 p.m.):

Fox News | MGN

Authorities say the helicopter that struck a New York City skyscraper took off from a Manhattan helipad and was in the air for about 11 minutes before it crashed.

Police Commissioner James O'Neill said Monday that the privately owned aircraft took off from a pad on the East River.

He says it may have been headed to its home airport in Linden, New Jersey. The helicopter struck the 750-foot-tall AXA Equitable building just before 1:45 p.m.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said it isn't clear why the helicopter went down.

The helicopter was flying in rain and heavy clouds. From the river, it veered into Manhattan airspace that is supposed to be off limits for security reasons.

The pilot was killed. Officials didn't immediately release his name.

O'Neill said the aircraft was used for executive travel.
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UPDATE (3:20 p.m.):

The helicopter that crashed into a New York City skyscraper was flying in heavy rain in airspace that is supposed to be off-limits.

A flight restriction in effect since President Donald Trump took office bans aircraft from flying below 3,000 feet within a 1-mile radius of Trump Tower, which is just a few blocks from the crash site.

Fire Department officials say the helicopter pilot died when the craft hit the top of the AXA Equitable building at around 2 p.m.

There were no other reports of injuries.

It wasn't clear why the pilot flew into that part of Manhattan, but authorities called it an emergency landing.

Trump said in a tweet that he'd been briefed on the crash. He said first responders on the scene did a "phenomenal job."
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UPDATE (3:15 p.m.):

A helicopter crash-landed on the roof a midtown Manhattan skyscraper Monday, killing the pilot, authorities said.

The crash happened at around 2 p.m. in a steady rain and clouds that obscured the roof of the tower, the AXA Equitable building.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who spoke to reporters at the scene about 20 minutes after the crash, said the impact shook the building and caused a fire, but it was under control and there were no other reports of injuries.

The incident, close to both Rockefeller Center and Times Square, sent rescue vehicles swarming to the building and immediately evoked memories of the Sept. 11 attacks, though officials said there were no indications it was related to terrorism.

"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," Cuomo said.

The FAA said it would investigate. It was not immediately known what type of helicopter was involved.

Videos posted by onlookers showed emergency vehicles in the street, but no obvious damage to the skyscraper, which is about 750 feet (229 meters) tall.

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 wasn't 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.

Alex Jacobs was working on the seventh floor when he heard bells and an announcement to evacuate. He and his colleagues — who hadn't heard or felt an impact — used stairs to a fire exit. "It's really unfortunate. I Just hope everyone's OK," he said.

New York City has a history of both minor and major helicopter wrecks and crash landings.

Last month, a helicopter crash landed in the Hudson River near a busy Manhattan heliport. The pilot escaped mostly unscathed.

Five people died when a sightseeing helicopter crashed into the East River last year. Three people died in another crash into the same river in 2011. Nine people died in a collision between a sightseeing helicopter and a small plane in 2009, not far from the scene of Monday's mishap.

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The Fire Department is responding to a report of a helicopter crash at a building in midtown Manhattan.

The FDNY said at around 2 p.m. Monday that it had no further details of the incident, roughly located around 51st Street and Seventh Avenue.

It was not immediately known what type of helicopter was involved.

Videos posted by onlookers showed emergency vehicles in the street, but no obvious damage to the skyscraper.