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One killed as helicopter crashes onto roof of Manhattan skyscraper, fire breaks out

NEW YORK: A helicopter made a crash landing onto the roof of a midtown Manhattan skyscraper on Monday, killing at least one person and sending a plume of smoke skyward from the top of the building.
The crash occurred shortly before 2 p.m. (1800 GMT) on a rainy, foggy day at the 750-foot (229m) AXA Equitable Center at 787 Seventh Avenue. Dozens of emergency vehicles swarmed the busy area, a few blocks north of Times Square.
The person killed is “presumed” to be the pilot, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference. No injuries, either to people in the building or on the ground, have been reported, he said.
“Thank God for that,” de Blasio said. “This could have been a much worse incident.” The mayor said the cause was unknown but that there was no indication that the crash was an “act of terrorism.” It was not clear if the weather was a contributing factor.
The chopper took off from a heliport on Manhattan`s east side and crash-landed on the building 11 minutes later, emergency officials said. The site is about half a mile from Trump Tower, where U.S. President Donald Trump maintains an apartment. The area has been under a temporary flight restriction since his election in November 2016.
Nathan Hutton, who works in information technology for the French bank BNP Paribas on the 29th floor, said the building shook when the helicopter slammed into the roof. “It felt like you were just standing there, and someone takes their hand and just shoves you,” he said. “You felt it through the whole building.”
The Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that the aircraft was an Agusta A109E, a twin-engine, lightweight helicopter. The pilot was the only person aboard, and FAA air traffic controllers did not handle the flight, according to the agency.

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