The crash near
The pilot was the only person aboard, and there were no other reports of injuries, authorities said.
It was not immediately clear what caused the crash, or why the Agusta A109E was flying in a driving downpour with low cloud cover and in the tightly controlled airspace of midtown
"There's something mysterious here," Mayor
One lawmaker called for "non-essential" helicopter flights over
The pilot, identified by his employer as
The 19-year-old helicopter was linked to a real estate company founded by Italian-born investor
The helicopter went down about 11 minutes after taking off from a heliport along the
The director at
He suspects that a mechanical problem or the weather "overwhelmed him and the helicopter," Dudley said. "I believe he tried to get on the roof and spare the people on the ground."
McCormack, 58, chronicled some of his helicopter flights on his Facebook page, including a 2014 emergency landing caused by a bird strike. He had been conducting a sightseeing tour over
"It was pretty much like an explosion going off in your cockpit," McCormack told television station WABC at the time.
The crash happened shortly before
The evacuation was not chaotic, Rodriguez said, but he was rattled because he immediately thought of the
"It's scary when something like this happens," he said.
Videos posted by onlookers showed emergency vehicles in the street, but no obvious damage to the skyscraper. The fire department later tweeted a photo of the helicopter's wreckage that showed piles of burned debris on the roof.
"If you're a
Working for a bank on the building's seventh floor,
Then came an announcement that the situation was being looked into, and a few minutes later, an instruction to evacuate, without explanation, she said.
"It was a little bit crazy, a little bit scary" as workers walked down the stairs, she said.
A block south, lawyer
"I couldn't tell if the smoke preceded the helicopter coming over, or if it was from the helicopter crashing into the building," he said.
Trump tweeted from
"Why should some tour guide be able to endanger the lives of people by flying over probably one of the most densely populated areas in the world?" she asked. "It doesn't make any sense at all, and it should have been banned long ago."
The city currently allows helicopters to take off and land from three heliports, one each on the East and West sides and in downtown
It was once more common for helicopters to take off from private
That spurred a push to close down private helipads.
Still, the city has seen a string of helicopter accidents since. The most recent was just last month, when a chopper crash landed in the
Five people died when a sightseeing helicopter crashed into the