One person has died after a helicopter crashed on to the roof of a Manhattan skyscraper before bursting into flames.
The chopper was said to be “flying erratically” before it crash landed on the AXA Equitable Center building on 7th Avenue, which is close to the Empire State Building and Times Square.
It had also been flying within restricted airspace, where aircraft are forbidden from flying below 3,000 feet (914 metres) within a one-mile radius of Trump Tower.
The tower is just a few blocks from the site of the crash.
New York Mayor Bill De Blasio said there was no indication that the crash was an “act of terrorism”, and said the person who died was believed to be the pilot.
No other injuries were reported.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo arrived at the scene shortly after the incident, and offered reassurances to those who were reminded of 9-11, when almost 3,000 people were killed after terrorists hijacked aircraft and flew them into buildings, including the two World Trade Center towers.
He said: “If you’re a New Yorker, you have a level of PTSD from 9/11.”
“I remember that morning all too well. So as soon as you hear an aircraft hit a building I think my mind goes where every New Yorker’s mind goes.”
Donald Trump also tweeted to confirm he had been briefed, praising the “phenomenal job” carried out by emergency services, and those still at the scene.
He said: “The Trump administration stands ready should you need anything at all.”
The skyscraper was evacuated after the crash, with many of those inside recalling how the building shook as the helicopter made impact.
Nathan Hutton, who works on the 29th floor, said: “It felt like you were just standing there, and someone takes their hand and just shoves you.
“You felt it through the whole building.”
Another witness who was also in the building at the time told ABC News: “You could smell the smoke coming down from the upper floor and it smelled like burning construction material.”
He added: “When we got to the first floor… that was when we were told ‘everybody get out now’.”
Meanwhile, an umbrella seller on the street below said he heard a “rumble”.
He said: “I didn’t see it, but I felt it. Smoke was on top of the building.”
Emergency services blocked the streets with dozens of fire engines and police cars, and bystanders were warned to stay away as work continued to stop fuel leaking from the helicopter.
The weather in New York was wet and cloudy around the time of the crash, with one witness in an adjacent building describing the site as “very foggy”.
Sky News correspondent Hannah Thomas-Peter said: “There’s very limited visibility – it’s raining really hard.”
The privately-owned helicopter was an Agusta A190E – the Federal Aviation Administration said it would release details of the registration once the pilot’s name had been confirmed.
It added that the National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) would investigate the crash.
The NTSB has not yet responded to Sky News’ request for comment.
Source: SKY NEWS