Pilot Killed in Helicopter Crash On Roof of Building in Manhattan

The pilot of a helicopter was killed in a crash-landing on top of a building in the heart of New York City, which sent smoke streaming from the midtown Manhattan roof.

The crash occurred atop 787 Seventh Ave., a 54-story building near 51st Street, officials said.

The pilot, who was later identified as Tim McCormack, was the only presumed victim, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference, adding: “There is no indication at this time that this was an act of terrorism, and there is no ongoing threat to New York City based on all of the information we have right now.”

No other injuries were reported, said de Blasio, who said, “This could have been a much worse incident.”

New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill said police were working with the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, and the National Transportation Safety Board to determine what caused the helicopter, an Agusta A109E, to crash.

Weather conditions were rainy, and visibility was little more than a mile on Monday, with the cloud ceiling at about 500 feet.

O’Neill said the helicopter had taken off from the heliport on the East River at 34th Street at 1:32 p.m., 11 minutes before it slammed into the building. Multiple senior law enforcement officials told NBC News that it was slated to fly by or to the Statue of Liberty but encountered difficulty that led to the crash.

Two law enforcement officials said condition of anonymity that the pilot told workers at the East River helipad that he thought he had enough clearance to make it but that once he was in the air, he radioed back saying he might need to return.

“To go into that area, a helicopter would need the approval from LaGuardia Tower,” de Blasio said. “And we need to find out if that happened or not here. We do not know at this point.”

McCormack, who was from Clinton Corners, New York, near Poughkeepsie, was certified as a flight instructor, according to records on file with the FAA.

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SOURCE: NBC News, Janelle Griffith, Jonathan Dienst, Doha Madani and Tom Winter