New Information About Hudson Valley Fire Chief's Fatal Crash

Corey Johnson

Corey Johnson

Videos posted on social media showed smoke from the crash emanating from the roof of the building, at 787 Seventh Ave. between 51st and 52nd streets.

The crash at the building on Seventh Avenue, a few blocks south of Central Park, occurred around 1:45 p.m.

"Should the helicopter have been flying?"

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

"If you're a New Yorker you have a level of PTSD, right, from 9/11", said Cuomo, a Democrat. "So as soon as you hear an aircraft hit a building, my mind goes where every New Yorker's mind goes".

NY police Commissioner James O'Neill said Monday it took off from a nearby heliport 11 minutes before the crash, which was described as a "hard landing". Winds were from the east at 9 miles per hour.

He told CNN authorities need to find out more about the pilot at the time he chose to take off.

Federal investigators on Tuesday sifted through the wreckage of a helicopter atop a Manhattan skyscraper and interviewed witnesses, seeking to determine why the aircraft crashed on the roof a day earlier, killing the pilot.

O'Neill could not say whether the pilot made an emergency call from the Agusta A109E helicopter.

Police said that a fire on the roof had been extinguished but asked people to avoid the area around the building as emergency responders headed to the scene. He was taking the chopper from the city to New Jersey when he crashed at 787 7th Avenue, a 52-story high-rise. The aircraft was initially described as a plane, a fire department spokesman said.

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Helicopters going in and out of the heliport, on East 34th Street, are only allowed to fly in the restricted area if they have permission and are in constant communication with air traffic control.

"We are mourning the loss of Tim McCormack, who has flown for us for the past five years", a representative for American Continental, who owned the helicopter, told WPIX.

Tim McCormack, the pilot, was the only person aboard when the helicopter crashed here with enough force to jolt employees of the finance and law firms housed inside the 50-floor tower in midtown Manhattan. No one was injured in that incident, according to the report.

McCormack was not certified to use instruments to help fly through cloudy or bad weather, the FAA said.

His passengers started screaming and crying, the station reported.

McCormack had volunteered with the East Clinton Volunteer Fire Department since 1994 and served as the department chief for 10 years, East Clinton Fire Department Chief Don Estes said reading a statement.

McCormack graduated from Arlington High School in Lagrangeville. Tim was a dedicated, highly professional and extremely well-trained firefighter.

The department furthered that McCormack was "extremely respected" by the department and "throughout the Dutchess County fire service".

"Tim will be exceptionally missed by this department's members, not only for his leadership but for his wonderful sense of humor".

"Rest in Peace, brother", he said.

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