Sunday , October 24 2021

Helicopter crash in New York: Pilot died about 11 minutes after takeoff


Several floors of the building trembled. Before the alarms started ringing and the workers had a full understanding of what was happening, security was ordering them to pick up their belongings and evacuate.

Desperate employees squeezed themselves up the stairs, running from plane to plane, unaware that a helicopter had just fallen on top of their building, causing a fire and leaving a dead person.

"It took half an hour to get from the 29th floor down to the ground floor. There were a lot of people, it was too crowded, and everyone was trying to get out on every floor at the same time," said Nathan Sutton. , just outside 787 Seventh Avenue.

"You could feel the building shaking and you could actually hear the alarms," ​​he said.

The pilot, identified as Tim McCormack, died in the crash, police said.

"My mind goes where the New York mind goes"

Lance Koonce was one block from 787 Seventh Avenue when he heard something that looked like a very low-flying helicopter. He saw a sheet of fire and smoke as he looked out the window.

Morgan Aries was inside the crash site on the 14th floor.

"We feel a little shaken," he told CNN.

The order to evacuate came minutes later, he reminded her.

"There was a time when we all could not get out of the building because we're all just late," Aries said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was among many New Yorkers who said the incident brought back memories of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan.

"If you're a New Yorker, you have a PTSD level of September 11," Cuomo said. "And I remember that morning very well. So as soon as you hear an aircraft hit a building, my mind goes where the whole mind of a New Yorker goes."

Fighting against fire

The helicopter took off from the 34th Street heliport at 1:32 a.m., said NYPD commissioner James O'Neill, and crashed 11 minutes later.

At the time of the incident, moderate to heavy rain was falling in the city and visibility in Central Park fell to 1.25 kilometers. Winds were from the east at 9 mph.

Based on interviews conducted by the New York Police Department at the 34th Street heliport on the east side of Manhattan, the pilot was waiting for the time, but for some reason decided that there was no problem, another CNN police source said.

The pilot then flew around Battery Park, on the southern tip of Manhattan, to the west side of the island and then, somewhere on the streets in the 1940s, began turning toward downtown Manhattan before landing, said the police source.

Neill could not tell if the pilot made an emergency call from the Agusta A109E helicopter.

Firefighters from New York at the scene of the helicopter crash.

The first firefighters came on the scene in five minutes, said Thomas Richardson, head of fire operations at the FDNY. Firefighters climbed to the top of the 54-story building to put out the fire of three alarms.

Lieutenant FDNY, Adrienne Walsh, one of the department's first responders, described the roof scene as "a field of debris that was on fire."

Grief of a pilot, a volunteer firefighter

McCormack flew to American Continental Properties, the company that owns the helicopter, in the past five years, according to a company statement.

"We are mourning the loss of Tim McCormack," the statement said.

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

McCormack was forced to make an emergency landing at the West 30th Street heliport. No one was injured in that incident, according to the report.

McCormack said at the time that it was "practically an explosion in his cockpit."

His passengers began to scream and cry, the station said.

"A little bit of pandemonium," he told the station, recalling the incident. "You kind of get together and we went to 30th Street."

McCormack had volunteered at the East Clinton Volunteer Fire Department since 1994 and served as department head for 10 years, East Clinton Fire Chief Don Estes said in a statement. McCormack also volunteered at the LaGrange Fire Department, according to Estes.

"Tim was a dedicated, highly professional and extremely well-trained firefighter. Tim's technical knowledge and skills to command an emergency were exceptional," Estes said, reading the statement.

McCormack was respected by his department and other firefighters in Duchess County.

"Tim will be exceptionally left by his department members, not just for his leadership but his wonderful sense of humor," Estes said.

"Rest in peace, brother," he said.

Shimon Prokupecz, Julia Jones, Eric Levenson, Elizabeth Joseph, Mark Morales and Sonia Moghe of CNN contributed to this report.

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