A helicopter crash landed on the roof of a Midtown NYC building on Monday afternoon, killing the pilot, shocking terrified onlookers and causing chaos on the surrounding city streets. 

"No indication that this was an act of terror," New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio said at a press briefing at the scene. "This could have been a lot worse," he said.

The crash happened at 787 7th Ave. near 51st Street just before 1:45 p.m., according to emergency officials, and fire officials responded to the building four minutes later. The helicopter pilot crashed while attempting an emergency landing in the low visiblility of rain and clouds. The area above the crash site is considered restricted air space, and would have needed permission from LaGuardia Airport to enter, according to officials. It's unclear if he had that clearance, or where he was going. Trump Tower, the homebase of U.S. President Donald Trump, is not far from the crash site. It was not clear why the chopper was flying in such poor weather conditions, but police said that was part of their investigation.

The roof of the building collapsed after the crash, and caused a fire that FDNY were able to get under control. The building was evacuated, as were nearby buildings, and its occupants were not injured. 

 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo arrived on the scene and, under an umbrella, spoke to the media. "People who were in the building said they felt the building shake... There may have been casualties involved," Gov. Cuomo said.

Traffic was blocked off on the surrounding streets. Police warned people to avoid the area.

Witness Lance Koonce shared what he saw on the Midtown helicopter crash, tweeting "We’re 1 block south. 20 mins ago there was a loud sound like a too-low #helicopter & I looked up and saw sheet of flame on roof and then smoke.  News reports saying helicopter/small plane crash onto roof which would be consistent with what I heard/saw."

Initially, the helicopter crash was thought to have been a plane crash. Officials said Monday that terrorism was not believed to be a factor, but witnesses told local media they thought the worst when they heard an aircraft had hit a NYC building. Smoke was seen billowing from the building, and horrified onlookers shared videos and pictures on social media.

NYPD Tweeted, "ADVISORY: Please avoid the area of West 51st and 7th Ave due to an ongoing police investigation. Expect an emergency vehicles and traffic in the area. Update to follow."

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