Investigators plan briefing on Manhattan chopper crash

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This photo released by the New York City Fire Department shows damage caused by a helicopter crash, south of Central Park in New York on Monday, June 10, 2019. The crash that killed the pilot and occurred near Times Square and Trump Tower shook the 750-foot AXA Equitable building sparked a fire and forced office workers to flee on elevators and down stairs, witnesses and officials said. (FDNY via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Investigators are working to determine what caused a helicopter to crash into the roof of a midtown Manhattan skyscraper, killing the pilot.

The National Transportation Safety Board scheduled a briefing for Tuesday afternoon.

The crash on Monday killed the Tim McCormack, the former fire chief in Clinton Corners, New York, who was an experienced pilot.

The crash shook the 750-foot (229-meter) AXA Equitable building, sparked a fire and forced office workers to flee.

It briefly triggered memories of 9/11 and fears of a terrorist attack, but authorities said there is no indication the crash was a deliberate act. The crash also led to renewed calls for banning helicopter flights over Manhattan.

The helicopter was flying in a downpour of rain with low cloud cover and in tightly controlled airspace.

A flight restriction in effect since President Donald Trump took office bans aircraft from flying below 3,000 feet (914 meters) within a 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) radius of Trump Tower, which is less than a half-mile (0.8 kilometers) from the crash site.

Police Commissioner James O’Neill said previously that the chopper may have been returning to its home airport in Linden, New Jersey, where director Paul Dudley described McCormack as “a highly seasoned” and “very well-regarded” pilot.

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