De Blasio Tries to Quell Terror Fears after Helicopter Crashes into Manhattan Skyscraper: 'No Danger of Any Kind'
A helicopter crashed into a Manhattan high-rise on Monday afternoon, stoking fears of another 9/11-style terror attack. The pilot of a private helicopter, who is presumed dead, took off from the 34th street heliport and crashed into the roof of a Midtown Manhattan skyscraper 11 minutes later, according to NYPD Police Commissioner James O'Neil. Buildings in Manhattan were evacuated and many remain so as of publishing time.
"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," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters. "There is no danger of any kind to New Yorkers at this point."
"We do not know the cause of this incident... but again we have no indication that there was any terror nexus here," he said, noting that there appear to be no other injuries. "This could have been a much worse accident," he said.
The helicopter pilot, who has not been identified, reportedly took off in bad weather and was not in touch with the tower at LaGuardia prior to the crash. It's not known whether the inclement weather was a factor. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, which occurred in restricted airspace two blocks from Trump Tower.
People in the 750-foot-tall AXA Equitable building reported hearing engine noise just before the building shook. According to reports, people on the third floor of the building felt the impact, with some saying it felt "like an earthquake." Moments later, an announcement came on in the building telling people to shelter in place. Shortly after that announcement, the building was evacuated.
National Review columnist Dan McLaughlin, who was running late on 9/11 and just missed being in his office on the 54th floor of the World Trade Center when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into it, was evacuated from the AXA Equitable building today:
De Blasio thanked first responders for their "extraordinary effort" to put out the fire quickly.
New York Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro announced that the fire was quickly extinguished after firefighters used the building's elevators to gain access to the crash site and pumped water over 700 feet. "Members got those lines as quickly as possible up to that roof and put this fire out," he said.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose office is near the crash site, held an impromptu press conference and said what's on the minds of many New Yorkers today: “If you’re a New Yorker, you have a level of PTSD from 9/11 and I remember that morning all too well," he said, "so as soon as you hear an aircraft hit a building, I think my mind goes where every New Yorker’s goes."
President Trump tweeted that he has been briefed on the crash and thanked first responders:
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This article has been updated to include additional information as it has become available.