Tim McCormack, pilot of doomed helicopter, radioed he was lost


Firefighters amid the wreckage of a helicopter that crashed onto the roof of a Manhattan office building, June 10, 2019. Authorities said they did not suspect terrorism.

"I have been briefed on the helicopter crash in New York City".

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

The visibility at the time of Monday's crash was about 1¼ miles (2 kilometers) at nearby Central Park, with low clouds blanketing the skyline.

Almost five years ago, in October 2014, McCormack was flying a different helicopter over the Hudson River with six tourists on board when a bird struck and broke part of the windshield, according to CNN affiliate WABC.

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

The pilot, 58-year-old Tim McCormack, was not authorized to fly in limited visibility, raising questions about why he took off in the first place.

McCormack had volunteered with the East Clinton Volunteer Fire Department since 1994 and served as the department chief for 10 years, East Clinton Fire Department Chief Don Estes said reading a statement.

The company that owns the helicopter, American Continental Properties, said McCormack flew for them for the past five years.

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.

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The director at Linden Municipal Airport, Paul Dudley, described Mr McCormack as "a highly seasoned" and "very well regarded" pilot who was a regular at the airfield. "This could have been a much worse incident", he said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was on the scene shortly after the crash and told CBS New York that it appeared the helicopter tried to make an emergency landing on the roof.

Based on interviews the NYPD conducted at the 34th Street heliport on Manhattan's east side, the pilot was waiting out the weather but for some reason decided it was OK to go, another law enforcement source told CNN.

The Agusta A109E crash-landed in the rain and fog about 15 minutes later at 787 7th Avenue, near Times Square.

Rescue vehicles swarmed to the scene.

The evacuation was not chaotic, Mr Rodriguez said, but he was rattled because he immediately thought of the September 11 attacks, adding: "It's scary when something like this happens".

Videos posted on social media showed smoke from the crash emanating from the roof of the building, at 787 Seventh Ave. between 51st and 52nd streets. "I do not know yet", he said. A bird hitting the aircraft is to blame.

That trip would have taken the helicopter south, over the city's harbour and past the Statue of Liberty.

"The only indication was a helicopter had to do an emergency or a hard landing, or crashed onto the rooftop of a building, causing a fire, but there's no indication of anything more than that".

During a press conference, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio also stressed that it appeared to be an accident.