A pilot was killed Monday during a helicopter crash-landing atop the high-rise AXA Equitable building in midtown Manhattan. The crash, which occurred at approximately 2 p.m. local time, caused a fire and brought many emergency responders to the scene.
The fire has since been extinguished and the New York Fire Department is continuing to respond to fuel leaking from the helicopter, department officials confirmed.
The pilot is believed to have been the sole person aboard the aircraft, New York officials told The Associated Press.
The helicopter departed from the heliport on the East River at 34th Street at 1:32 p.m., Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill told the New York Times. It remains unclear what caused the helicopter to crash.
In a press conference from the scene, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said there is no indication this was anything more than an emergency landing.
“If you’re a New Yorker, you’ll have a level of PTSD,” he said, referring to the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. “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 goes.”
“At this point, there is no indication that that is the case,” he continued. “The only indication was a helicopter had to do an emergency or hard landing or crashed onto the rooftop of the building, causing a fire.”
Steven Gartner, who was on the 42nd floor of the building during the crash, told ABC News he heard “a buzz and a bang and then the entire building shook.”
The building was evacuated shortly after the crash, according to the AP.
President Donald Trump confirmed on Twitter that he had been briefed on the crash and that his administration was ready to provide support.
Videos posted on Twitter by nearby civilians showed a number of emergency vehicles in the area, but they did not show any clear damage to the building.