NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Questions remain one day after a helicopter crash-landed on top of a building in Midtown on Monday, killing the pilot.
People who work in the building, located at 787 Seventh Ave., are still being asked to stay away, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported Tuesday.
Some people were escorted in to get some items, but otherwise they’re being kept out of the building. Officials are on site from several agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, to try and figure out just what went wrong.
The NTSB noted on Tuesday the helicopter was flying in restricted airspace, possibly because the pilot’s original flight route did not go as planned due to the rainy and foggy weather.
The pilot never asked for permission to fly through the restricted air space.
The NTSB says the flight was not required to check in with air traffic control because it flies low and it’s a pilot’s decision.
According to the NTSB, the helicopter took off from Westchester around 11:30 a.m. with a passenger on board. The passenger was dropped off in New York City around 11:45 a.m.
Charred debris are all that remained of the chopper after it went down and burst into flames around 1:45 p.m. on Monday.
“It is highly fragmented and a post-crash fire consumed much of the wreckage,” NTSB air safety investigator Doug Brazy said.
NTSB Official Updates On Midtown Helicopter Crash
The pilot, 58-year-old Tim McCormack, was killed. Police said he took off from the 34th Street heliport on the East Side around 1:30 p.m. and crashed 11 minutes later. The airspace around Trump Tower — a few blocks away — is restricted, so it’s still unclear how or why he was flying there.
PHOTOS: Midtown Helicopter Crash
Sources told CBS2 McCormack radioed that he was in trouble. It’s unknown at this time if the weather played a role.
“I don’t know if he was waiting for the weather, but he was reviewing the weather or looking up the weather during that time,” Brazy said.
CBS has learned FAA records show McCormack was not instrument-rated, meaning he should not have been flying in those weather conditions.
On Monday, the building was covered in fog, but on Tuesday there was clear visibility as investigators continued their work. But as mentioned earlier, employees who work in the building are currently not allowed to return.
Richard Park works in the building at Willkie, Farr & Gallagher.
“I was turned away because they’re, I guess, fixing the building and cleaning up the building after what happened yesterday. I guess I’m not going to work today,” Park said.
Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson works next door.
“It’s important to also remember that as New Yorkers we’re resilient, we’re courageous. We’re not afraid, we don’t run and hide. We go right back to work the very next day, just like I’m doing right now,” Johnson said.
Many said they felt the building shake during the crash. The Department of Buildings said the damage seems to be contained to a catwalk, mechanical equipment and a window-washing system on the roof.
Many pointed out the man at the helicopter’s controls seemed to have prevented much worse.
According to those who know him, McCormack was an experienced pilot.
“He was such a good pilot, you know, but… I truly believe something happened with the helicopter,” Jennifer Cahill, owner of Jeanie Bean & Family, said. “Because it’s just not his character to be there in that spot. That’s a no-fly zone, you know, everyone knows that.”
He was also a volunteer firefighter in the Dutchess County town of Clinton, and twice served as fire chief. Black bunting now hangs outside the firehouse along with a sign in town reading “You Are Forever In Our Hearts.”
Those who knew him were very much hurting on Tuesday.
“Tim will be exceptionally missed by his department members, not only for his leadership but his wonderful sense of humor,” East Clinton Fire Department Chief Don Estes said.
“It’s tragic, a good person being lost in the community, family, you know. It’s gonna take a while ’til the community really appreciates and gets over the grief,” Clinton town supervisor Raymon Oberly said.
The wreckage will be moved to another location for closer inspection. The NTSB will release a preliminary report in about two weeks.