Authorities were sifting through the smashed wreckage of a helicopter atop a New York City highrise on Tuesday, investigating Monday’s spectacular crash that killed a pilot and briefly triggered fears that terrorism may have again struck in the heart of the nation’s biggest city.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators were trying to determine why the Agusta 109E twin engine helicopter was flying in windy, rainy, foggy conditions, why it ventured into restricted airspace and why the pilot chose the roof of a 54-story Midtown building for his ill-fated landing.
Pieces of information were slowly emerging that began to complete the puzzle, and air safety investigator Doug Brazy said a preliminary report could be released in two weeks. A final report could be two years away, he said at a press conference Tuesday.
Brazy was asked about the possible of impact of the weather on the tragedy.
“Should the helicopter have been flying? I don’t know yet,” Brazy said.
The crash brought chaos to the city, prompting a massive police response and evacuation of the highrise. Pedestrian and vehicular traffic was shut down for hours along a 15-block stretch between 6th Avenue and 8th Avenue in Manhattan.
Within an hour of the afternoon crash, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio were tamping down terrorism concerns. But if not terror, then what?
Who was the pilot?
Tim McCormack, 58, was from the hamlet of Clinton Corners, 90 miles north of the city. He was a volunteer firefighter for a quarter century and had flown executives for American Continental Properties for the past five years.