Tim McCormack is named as pilot who died after a helicopter crash landed into a skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan and burst into flames
McCormack, was a firefighter, was the pilot. Paul Dudley from the airport told the New York Times that McCormack was hired to fly for the helicopter's owner, Daniele Bodini, who he said commuted between the city and upstate New York. The airport manager at the helicopter's home base in Linden, New Jersey confirmed .
McCormack was the pilot who died after a helicopter crash landed into a skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan and burst into flames, sparking the evacuation of several nearby buildings, has been pictured.
McCormack was 58 years old, had taken off from the 34th Street heliport 11 minutes before he crashed with the helicopter onto top of the 750-foot tall building, setting its roof ablaze.
Emergency crews responded to the site where Tim McCormack went down at the AXA Equitable building at 787 Seventh Ave just before 2pm Monday, as smoke was seen billowing from the roof of the 54-story structure which is home to Le Bernardin restaurant.
The Agusta A109E helicopter was privately-owned by American Continental Properties, which said McCormack had flown for them for the past five years.
They pilot had been waiting out the bad weather but ultimately decided to fly the 19-year-old aircraft, and may have been heading to its home airport, which is southeast of the city, taking a route around the southern tip of Manhattan where Battery Park City is located before veering toward midtown somewhere between 40th and 49th streets.
McCormack and his helicopter then ended up crashing into the top of the building located between 51st and 52nd streets along Seventh Avenue, northwest of the launch pad.
McCormack served for 'many years' as the Chief of the East Clinton volunteer fire department, according to the message inscribed on a plaque pictured on his Facebook page, which lists him as being divorced.
The station shared a tribute to their deceased chief on Monday, writing, 'Tim was a dedicated, highly professional and extremely well trained firefighter. Tim's technical knowledge and ability to command an emergency were exceptional. Chief McCormack was extremely respected by not only the members of the department, but 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.'
McCormack, served with the department from 1994 to 2019 and was chief for 10 years was previously a member of the LaGrange Fire Department.
He recently shared a post on social media on May 25 commemorating the 343 firefighters who died during the September 11th attack in 2001.
He would often share images taken from the cockpit of his aircraft, joking on October 16, 2017 about making a 'long flight' from Newark International Airport in New Jersey to LaGuardia International Airport in Queens.
The Clinton Corners, New York resident had received his instructor certificate for 'Rotorcraft-Helicopter' one year ago in June, the Daily Voice reported.
A true New York native, McCormack graduated from Arlington High School in Lagrangeville. He was listed as having graduated in 1980 by Old Friends, a website used for connecting with former classmates.
In a statement released by Stu Loeser & Co., American Continental Properties said, 'We are mourning the loss of Tim McCormack who has flown for us for the past five years. Our hearts are with his family and friends.'
Video recorded by witness, showed the aircraft appearing to take a nose dive above water amid rainy skies just before it went down in Manhattan. A source told CBS2 that the pilot reported he was in trouble shortly before the crash.
At time of the crash, winds were coming in from the east at nine miles per hour, and moderate to heavy rain and fog had reduced visibility at Central Park to 1.25 miles.
An FDNY source on the scene following the crash said: 'The chopper is obliterated. There is heavy fire damage and wreckage from the aircraft is strewn across [the roof].'
The department later shared chilling images of the charred wreckage, after arriving on the scene within five minutes of reports of the crash and containing the resulting two-alarm fire within 30 minutes.
The helicopter reportedly took off from the 34th Street heliport 11 minutes before it crashed into the skyscraper. Officials said the pilot had been waiting out the bad weather but ultimately decided to fly, and may have been heading to its home airport, which is southeast of the city, taking a route around the southern tip of Manhattan where Battery Park City is located before veering toward midtown somewhere between 40th and 49th streets. McCormack and his helicopter then ended up crashing into the top of the building located between 51st and 52nd streets along Seventh Avenue, northwest of the launch pad
Investigators are still working to determine for certain where the helicopter was headed, speculating that it may have been going to its home airport in New Jersey, those the Linden Airport is located South of the island of Manhattan.
A flight restriction in effect since President Donald Trump took office bans aircraft from flying below 3,000 feet within two nautical miles of Trump Tower, which is just a few blocks from the crash site.
This flight restriction may have accounted for the route taken by McCormack around the southern tip of the island, rather than cutting through the airspace about the city after starting his doomed trip from the East Side of Manhattan.
To go into the airspace where the crash occurred, the pilot would have needed approval from La Guardia tower. Authorities are looking into whether that approval was given.
The investigation is being led by the National Transportation Safety Board.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed reporters at the press conference, saying: '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 the information we have right now. There is no danger of any kind to New Yorkers at this point.
'We do not know the cause of this incident. There were no other injuries that we know of at this point and time.'
He added: 'This could've been a much worse incident and thank God no one else was injured in this absolutely shocking incident.'
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was on the scene shortly after the crash and said that no one in the building was hurt.
'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,' he said.
'People in the building said they felt the building shake. It was hard landing.'
The Federal Aviation Administration issued the following statement on Twitter: 'We are gathering information about an accident involving a helicopter that crashed into a building in Midtown Manhattan.'
The agency said they will be releasing more details throughout the day as the investigation continues.
President Trump tweeted that he had been briefed on the situation and praised first responders for their efforts to control the situation.
'THANK YOU for all you do 24/7/365! The Trump Administration stands ready should you need anything at all,' he wrote.
There does not appear to have been any significant damage to the structure of the 750-foot-tall building, which houses the AXA Equitable Center. Other tenants include BNP Paribas, Stifel, New Mountain Capital, Sidley Austin LLP, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, UBS, and Citigroup.
The building is also home to the critically-acclaimed French restaurant La Bernardin, which announced that it will not be open tonight due to the today's crash.
An eye witness, a pastry line cook at Le Bernardin, said workers got an announcement telling everyone to exit, and he later heard from people around him that there was a fire on the roof.
The evacuation wasn't chaotic, he said, but he was rattled because he immediately thought of the September 11 attacks.
'It's scary when something like this happens,' he said.
Another eye witness was working on the seventh floor when he heard alarm bells go off and an evacuation announcement. He and his coworkers, who hadn't heard or felt an impact, took the stairs to a fire exit.
'It's really unfortunate. I just hope everyone's okay,' he said.