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Manhattan Helicopter Crash Leaves Pilot Dead

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Manhattan Helicopter Crash Leaves Pilot Dead

2019-06-10 18:42:20

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Scene of Manhattan helicopter crash (Image source: Twitter)


Being that it's still early in the investigation process, not enough is known about the helicopter crash in Manhattan on Monday. All that is known is that the one confirmed death is the pilot, and it's thought permission had not been given for flying over Manhattan.


Suffice it to say, though, that the news put New Yorkers on edge. It may be 18 years since the two airplane crashes on 9/11, but aircraft crashing into the top of a skyscraper certainly brings up memories.


The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CALPERS) tweeted that they own the building the helicopter crashed into, stating the building is "in our real estate portfolio."


The helicopter was in the air for only 11 minutes, according to Police Commissioner James O'Neill. It took off from the 34th Street airport at about 1:32 Monday afternoon.


The building it crashed into did not have a landing pad on it, according to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. "Helicopters have not been landing on buildings in Manhattan for decades," he said.


"There was a horrible crash in what was the Pan Am building some years ago, and it was banned after that. And in fact, a helicopter should not [be] in this area of Manhattan without the [approval] of LaGuardia Airport tower."


He went on to say that "something like this should have been authorized. We don't have any indication it was, but we're still investigating to confirm that."


Additionally, it's unknown why the aircraft was flying in rainy, overcast weather. What is known is that the pilot was trying to wait out the bad weather, then decided it was an okay time to go.


He flew around Battery Park and up the west side of Manhattan. At some point between 40th and 49th streets, the aircraft veered towards midtown Manhattan, then ultimately crash-landed.



A commercial pilot was behind the controls and is the only known death, with the mayor saying "this is someone who's been doing this work for a while. Apparently [the aircraft] was an executive helicopter used to ferry around executives." 

"We have him preliminarily identified, but it's not confirmed yet," said O'Neill at a news conference. He added that they are investigating whether he made a distress call or any contact with air traffic control. 

Mayor De Blasio reported early that there were no pedestrian deaths on the ground nor to anyone in the building.


"And I want to just say, thank God for that," said the mayor. "This could have been a much worse incident. And thank God no other people were injured in this absolutely shocking, stunning incident." 

Twice he stressed that there was no indication that the crash was terror-related. "There is no indication at this time that this was an act of terror, and there is no ongoing threat to New York City," said de Blasio, who later reiterated, 'We have no indication that there was any terror nexus here."


Donald Trump said he had spoken with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo about the crash and that the White House is working closely with the city and the state. 

"There will be a report in a little while as to what happened and why it happened," he said.

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