One dead after helicopter crash lands on roof of midtown Manhattan building
One person died in the crash of the Agusta A109E helicopter, according to officials.
Only the pilot was aboard the aircraft when it crashed at around 1:45 p.m. on top of 787 Seventh Avenue, a 54-story building located between West 51st and West 52nd streets, at the north end of Times Square. The building’s roof does not have a helipad.
Workers at the building quickly evacuated after the crash, which occurred on a rainy, foggy day.
The building, known as the AXA Equitable Center, houses the U.S. headquarters of AXA Financial, a subsidiary of French-based insurance and banking company AXA.
Other tenants include BNP Paribas, Citibank and the international law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher.
Fire trucks and police vehicle swarmed the area. The fire on the roof was extinguished as of about 20 minutes after the crash.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke to reporters at the scene.
“There was a helicopter that made a forced landing or an emergency landing ... on the roof of the building for one reason or the other,” Cuomo said. “People in the building said they felt the building shake.”
“It was hard landing,” Cuomo said. “In building itself, nobody has been hurt.”
Laura Esquival, a hostess at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, which is located across the street from the crash scene, said, “I saw people running out.”
“They were escorting everyone out,” she said.
The building, which is considered a landmark in the area, was designed by Edward Larabee Barnes for the Equitable Life Insurance Co. Its skylighted entrance atrium features a large mural by the artist Roy Lichtenstein called Mural with Blue Brushstroke, which he completed in 1986.
Calpers, the California public employee pension fund, purchased the building in 2016 for $1.9 billion.
Passerby quickly posted still images and videos of the scene.
The Federal Aviation Administration, in a prepared statement said, “FAA air traffic controllers did not handle the flight.”
The FAA also said that the National Transportation Safety Board “will be in charge of the investigation and will determine probable cause of the accident.”
“We will release the aircraft registration after NYC officials will release the pilot’s name.”
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said, “The President has been briefed on the helicopter crash in Manhattan and continues to monitor the situation.”
On March 11, 2018, five people aboard a sightseeing helicopter were killed after the aircraft crashed into the East River off the coast of Manhattan.
New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor were killed in 2006 when Lidle’s small plane crashed into a 42-story building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Eighteen people were injured in the crash.
In 1977, five people were killed when the rotor blade of a helicopter snapped off on the roof of what was then known as the Pan Am Building in midtown Manhattan, next to Grand Central Terminal. The building, which is now known as the MetLife Building, had its heliport closed after the accident.