Investigators plans briefing on Manhattan chopper crash

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 (229-meter) AXA Equitable building sparked a fire and forced office workers to flee on elevators and down stairs, witnesses and officials said.

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the midtown Manhattan helicopter crash (all times local):

9:35 p.m.

The pilot killed when his helicopter hit a New York City skyscraper in thick fog and rain radioed that he was lost and trying to get back to a heliport but couldn't find it.

That's according to an official briefed on the investigation.

The person wasn't authorized to discuss the radio calls publicly because of the ongoing federal safety investigation and spoke to The Associated Press Tuesday on condition of anonymity.

Videos taken by a bystander and posted on social media showed the helicopter pausing and hovering south of the heliport, then turning and making an erratic flight back north through the clouds.

The pilot was alone and the only person killed in Monday's crash.

Authorities haven't determined why the pilot tried to return to the ground or what caused him to stray over midtown Manhattan.

-- Michael R. Sisak

———

3:30 p.m.

Officials say the pilot who died when his helicopter slammed into the roof of a New York City skyscraper wasn't authorized to fly in limited visibility.

The Federal Aviation Administration says Tim McCormack was only certified to fly under regulations known as visual flight rules, which require generally good weather and clear conditions.

An air safety investigator said Tuesday that an earlier passenger in the helicopter said nothing seemed out of the ordinary during the previous flight.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Doug Brazy says the short flight had taken the passenger from Westchester County to a Manhattan heliport. Then the pilot left by himself on a planned flight to Linden, New Jersey, after waiting and reviewing the weather. He crashed shortly after during a rainstorm.

———

2:50 p.m.

An air safety investigator says an earlier passenger in a helicopter that crashed into a Manhattan skyscraper, killing the pilot, said nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Doug Brazy says the short flight Monday had taken the passenger from Westchester County to a Manhattan heliport. Then the pilot left by himself on a planned flight to Linden, New Jersey, after waiting and reviewing the weather.

Shortly after taking off, he crashed.

Brazy said Tuesday that investigators are trying to confirm whether the pilot tried to make radio calls.

The Monday crash killed Tim McCormack and shook the AXA Equitable building, sparked a fire and forced office workers to flee.

The helicopter was flying in a downpour with low visibility. Weather is one of the factors being investigated.

———

1:30 p.m.

Investigators are working to determine what caused a helicopter to crash into the roof of a midtown Manhattan skyscraper.

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

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

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

The helicopter was flying in a driving downpour 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.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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