Terrifying helicopter crash in New York City leaves one dead atop skyscraper

For many Americans, the horrifying images from September 11th, 2001 will never be forgotten.

On that fateful day, terrorists took from us the visage of safety as they pummeled the World Trade Center and the Pentagon with commercial aircraft – a tactic that President George W. Bush famously proclaimed that no one would have envisioned occurring in America.

Today, many New Yorkers were brought back to that harrowing imagery as a helicopter made a deadly crash landing atop a Manhattan skyscraper.

A helicopter crash-landed on the roof of a 54-story office building in midtown Manhattan Monday, sparking a fire and killing at least one person, authorities say.

A call about the incident at the AXA Equitable Center on Seventh Avenue and West 49th Street came in shortly before 2 p.m. The NYPD confirmed the hard landing on the roof of 787 Seventh Avenue; it wasn’t clear why the chopper would have tried to land there, nor was it clear who owned the chopper.

The AXA Equitable Center does not have a helipad installed atop the building, and was chosen as a landing location by the frantic pilot.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it was an Agusta A109E helicopter and a preliminary investigation indicated the pilot was the only person aboard. Air traffic controllers did not handle the flight, the FAA said, adding that the National Transportation Safety Board would lead the investigation. The NTSB said a short time earlier that it was aware of the situation and monitoring developments.

The hard landing and subsequent fire sent thick gray smoke billowing from the top of the towering building, which also houses offices for BNP Paribas, the French bank. The blaze was out within about 30 minutes, though the FDNY continued to respond to leaking fuel some time later. The city issued an emergency notification saying to expect road closures and the presence of emergency personnel at Seventh Avenue and West 51st Street.

At this time, there is no indication of terrorism in the crash, as stated by NY Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The FBI was on the scene anyway, hoping to officially rule out the possibility sooner rather than later.

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