A helicopter crashed into the AXA Equitable building in Midtown Manhattan Monday, killing the pilot and fraying nerves -- although authorities ruled out terrorism in the incident.
The AgustaWestland AW109 chopper manufactured by Leonardo S.p.A (FINMF) struck the tower in early afternoon hours, leaving the unnamed pilot dead. Whether other people sustained injuries following the crash and an ensuing fire wasn't immediately known, nor was the purpose of the aircraft's flight into the airspace above Midtown about four miles north of the New York Stock Exchange.
787 7th ave, #midtown NYC. We're 1 block south. 20 mins ago there was a loud sound like a too-low #helicopter & I looked up and saw sheet of flame on roof and then smoke. News reports saying helicopter/small plane crash onto roof which would be consistent with what I heard/saw. pic.twitter.com/swY3ksLskH— Lance Koonce (@LHKoonce) June 10, 2019
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) addressed the press shortly after the crash, noting that all indications thus far lead officials to believe the impact was accidental rather than terrorism-related. The incident occurred just a few miles from the World Trade Center site, where terrorists killed thousands in 2001 by crashing planes into the Twin Towers.
JUST IN: NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Midtown helicopter crash: "The only indication was a helicopter had to do an emergency or a hard landing, or crashed onto the rooftop of a building...There's no indication of anything more than that." https://t.co/6M2KaMOjZM pic.twitter.com/ClIFgeV6Gu— ABC News (@ABC) June 10, 2019
The impacted building, located at 787 7th Ave., hosts offices for a number of financial institutions, including Stifel, BNP Paribas, New Mountain Capital, UBS and Citigroup. The building itself is owned by the California Public Employees' Retirement System, the country's largest pension fund.
An eyewitness said the building shook and members of his work team were instantly aware of something out of the ordinary.
New York police issued an advisory following the crash asking vehicles and foot traffic to avoid the area as emergency vehicles respond.
ADVISORY: Please avoid the area of West 51st and 7th Ave due to an ongoing police investigation. Expect an emergency vehicles and traffic in the area. Update to follow. pic.twitter.com/13gYd1hHI9— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) June 10, 2019
Neil Shapiro, communications director for Stifel, told TheStreet that all employees at the firm have been evacuated following the incident.
"We have a staging area set up on the steps outside St. Patrick's Cathedral and, out of an abundance of caution, we have advised employees to head home," he said in an email. "We are in the process now of confirming that all employees are safe and accounted for, which we believe is the case. We have business continuity plans in place and are already enacting them."
He added that rather fortunately, a number of regular employees at 787 7th Avenue are attending a conference in Boston.
TheStreet is reaching out to a number of other tenants to assess the safety of each firm's employees.
(This is a developing story. Click back for updates.)