By Stacey Leasca and Alison Fox
June 10, 2019
A policeman gestures near fire trucks after a helicopter crash-landed on top of a building in midtown Manhattan in New York on June 10, 2019.
JOHANNES EISELE/Getty Images

A helicopter believed to be used for executive travel crash landed on top of a building in midtown Manhattan about 11 minutes after taking off on Monday afternoon, killing the pilot on board, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters at a news conference. 

The building is a 54-story office complex in midtown Manhattan located between West 51st and West 52nd streets at the north end of Times Square, NBC reported. FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said firefighters responded to the roof of the building "a little over four minutes" after the 911 call. 

"We were able to put water on the fire quite quickly," he said. "There was some amount of fuel leaked that we mitigated. Right now the building is safe."

The building, NBC further explained, is known as the Axa Equitable Center. Its tenants include BNP Paribas, Citibank, and international law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher.

It also connects to Eric Ripert's famed restaurant Le Bernardin.

"We don't know what caused the helicopter to land on the top of the building. But people in the building itself, nobody has been hurt. Some people have been evacuated," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Police also tweeted about the incident, telling those in the area to steer clear of the area and to expect traffic delays.

The incident was first reported as a “crash,” however, according to a second tweet by NYPD, the helicopter experienced a “hard landing.” The landing caused a small fire, but police noted it was quickly extinguished.

The helicopter took off from the 34th Street heliport at about 1:32 p.m. and landed on the building at about 1:43 p.m. Police Commissioner James O'Neill said it was believed the privately owned helicopter was headed to its home airport in Linden, NJ. The pilot did not appear to be the owner of the helicopter.

Police are investigating why the helicopter was flying in such bad weather, if the pilot made any contact with air traffic control, and whether the pilot received approval to fly in that area.  

De Blasio called it a "challenging situation" and said while the person who died was presumed to be the pilot, there didn't appear to be any other passengers on board.

"There is no indication at this time that this was an act of terror and there is no ongoing threat to New York City based on all the information we have right now," de Blasio said, adding, "This could have been a much worse incident. Thank God no other people were injured in this absolutely shocking, stunning incident." 

Twitter user Lance Koonce shared several photos of the area immediately after the crash. In the tweet Koonce wrote, “787 7th ave, #midtown NYC. We’re 1 block south. 20 mins ago there was a loud sound like a too-low #helicopter & I looked up and saw a sheet of flame on the roof and then smoke. News reports saying helicopter/small plane crash onto the roof which would be consistent with what I heard/saw.”

Officials will remain on the scene and await the arrival of National Transportation Safety Board.

This story is developing.

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