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Democrats Are Being Accused Of Leading A Mock Impeachment Hearing; A Helicopter That Has Crashed In Midtown Manhattan. Aired: 2- 2:30p ET
Aired June 10, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: We don't know. We are going to work on this. Kate Bennett is all over this tree beat. Thank you so much, Kate Bennett.
KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Thank you.
KEILAR: And that is it for me. NEWSROOM with Brooke Baldwin starts right now.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, I'm Brooke Baldwin. You are watching CNN on this Monday afternoon. Thank you for being with me. Pop-up some live photos, this is Washington, D.C. Live pictures of the House Judiciary Committee, where at any moment, a hearing will get underway regarding the Mueller report, but with no Robert Mueller, no Mueller witnesses, no Mueller investigators.
Democrats are being accused of leading a mock impeachment hearing. And yet, as this hearing may be a reminder of Democrats' struggles to get information, there is breaking news now about the House Judiciary Committee on accessing precisely that. The Chairman of this committee, Congressman Jerry Nadler just announced that the Committee will obtain some of the redacted portions of the Mueller report.
This deal with the Department of Justice now means that the Attorney General, Bill Barr will avoid a contempt charge at least for now. So let's jump to some analysis. Elie Honig is with me, he is a former assistant U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York and a CNN legal analyst. And also with us, Karoun Demirjian a congressional reporter with "The Washington Post."
So, welcome to both of you. And Elie, just starting with you on Mueller getting this piece of the report -- getting this key evidence. You say that it's a sensible deal for both sides, why?
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think it is. So, the Department of Justice avoids the possibility or at least postpones the possibility of Bill Barr, the Attorney General, the head of the Department of Justice being held in contempt.
And lately, there's been some talk about does contempt really matter? Is it just symbolic? No matter what, it's no great honor, right? It's something you want to avoid. And so, it keeps them out of that.
For Nadler's perspective, it gives him access to some of the evidence underlying the Mueller report. We don't know exactly what evidence, but it's one of the things that he has been pushing hard for and now he has at least got some concession. So it seems like a sensible middle ground.
I don't think that Nadler was going to win that fight in court anyway. So, I think he's smart to take what he can get.
BALDWIN: Okay. Stand by on that, we're also -- of course, waiting to see -- we're going to listen in for Chairman Nadler, we're going to listen to some of John Dean's testimony. John Dean, the former White House counsel for President Nixon, who's been on our air a whole heck of a lot.
He cut a deal with Watergate investigators, he pleaded guilty in 1973 to conspiracy to obstruct justice. And Dean explained on "New Day" what he plans to say to this committee, which is tasked with overseeing any sort of impeachment inquiry.
Guys, I have lost my ear and anything that I'm looking at, are we live? So we're live. I'm just going to roll on.
Ahead at this hearing, the President just tweeted -- referred to John Dean as a quote-unquote "sleaze bag." Here we go, I've got the live pictures back up again. Here's the Chairman Jerry Nadler getting ready to roll.
So again, okay now I'm being told -- I've got Manu Raju, he is our senior congressional correspondent up on Capitol Hill, covering all of this. So let's just jump to what we're about to see, Manu. And talk to me about, why is John Dean about to testify?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Democrats have had a hard time getting the actual fact witnesses appear before this very committee. The people who have actually witnessed what happened, potential obstruction of justice by Don McGahn, the Special Counsel himself.
So, as a result, they have been frustrated, these process fights they've been involved with the administration, but they have wanted to try to shine more of a light over what the actual contents of the Mueller report contains.
So they've decided to bring in witnesses who are now center to this investigation, but perhaps another investigation -- that involving, one, the Nixon White House. John Dean, the former Nixon White House counsel is expected to provide some context, perspective to compare what happened back then to what's happening today as part of the Democrats arguments that there have been potential criminal conduct engaged in by this President.
Now, this all comes, of course amid a fierce debate internally in the party about whether or not this is the exact course of action that they should ultimately pursue. Democrats including a number on this committee, including the chairman himself, Jerry Nadler who support opening up an impeachment inquiry, which they believe if they were to do that, they'd have a better success in bringing forward the very witnesses who have witnessed things that happened in the White House whose names were littered throughout the Mueller report and they believe that the administration will have a harder time in court trying to deny those witnesses from going forward.
But at the moment, they are planning this approach, not moving forward with an impeachment inquiry in large part because of the opposition by the House Speaker who believes that it would be a fruitless endeavor to go that route so they want to do these things -- have specific hearings that would spotlight different elements of the report, have various committees look into various aspects and then fight on issue- by-issue, go to court if they have to, hope to win in court.
[14:05:10] RAJU: They've won twice, so Pelosi believes that they are on the right course of action, but nevertheless a number of Democrats believe they should be firmer, they should go forward with an impeachment probe, so they can hear from the actual witnesses not like the witness today who does not have any direct knowledge of what's happening here.
RAJU: But nevertheless, the Democrats believe that this will help at least shine a light about things that have happened that is going to be laid out by the Special Counsel -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Okay, Manu, thank you very much. And Elie, let me just pivot back to you because when we were talking about this earlier, you were sitting in my office and saying, "This is basically like an opening act," you know.
BALDWIN: This is like the opening band ahead of the, you know, the main gig which is what everyone obviously wants to come and see. So what really -- what do you make of this spectacle? What is the point of this?
HONIG: Yes, I think there are some things that John Dean will be able to do today and some things he will not be able to do. What he will be able to do, I think is, give us some historical context and an idea of -- from somebody who's lived through this, who was part of something like this back in the 70s and how he compares what he lived through with Nixon and what he was part of with Nixon, to what he is saying today.
And he's talked about that, but I think it's going to be interesting to hear him lay that comparison out and give us some historical context. But what he cannot do is sort of substitute for what everyone is really looking forward to seeing and needs to see, which is firsthand witnesses. Don McGahn, as Manu who just talked about, the people who can actually say, "I was there."
HONIG: "Here, what's I saw and heard." BALDWIN: Yes. I want to come back to your points. I know that is
huge, huge, huge. But Karoun to you, on the politics of all of this and we've been counting, right, how many members of the so-called impeachment caucus, right? How many Democrats are saying impeach, impeach -- which is not what we've been hearing from the House Speaker.
What does what we're about to see change about any next steps on impeachment for House Democrats? I mean, how much of this is about PR and spectacle versus something substantive?
KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, I mean, look, some of it is -- it just goes to what Elie was saying, which is that until they can get the fact witnesses in, the people who actually ran this investigation to talk to the panels, they have to go with these outsiders, and so it's kind of keeping that issue alive.
We know that what John Dean, has been very open about saying that the House should move towards impeachment. So having him there in that position and making that case could potentially lead other members to also declare their support and join the impeachment caucus.
But also, already knowing what John Dean's position is on the issue could just kind of be letting some of the air out of the tires, if people that are kind of wanting to defer to Nancy Pelosi's approach, I'd say well -- well look at this, this is too much of a political spectacle. We're not comfortable until we actually get through the actual investigative process of talking to those actual firsthand witnesses, this doesn't mean anything.
It's very unclear which way it's going to go and frankly it may serve two purposes depending on which member is watching this proceeding and what their inclinations already are.
BALDWIN: Republicans have already been slamming this whole hearing. They're calling it, you know, mock impeachment. I was reading Andy Biggs wrote this -- Congressman Biggs, Republican on House Judiciary said, "Sadly the American people aren't laughing because this incessant obsession of Democrats is spinning out of control." Do they have a point, Karoun?
DEMIRJIAN: Look, it is a constant theme that the Democrats are pushing. The Republicans are spinning that as the obsession and I think this is the push and pull of exactly how it's going to play -- the question of how it's going to play to the voters, to people for whom this is going to matter in 2020.
And this is the question that Speaker Pelosi has been wrestling with. Is it going to look like obsession? Are people going to then punish the Democrats? Because it looks like they were just doggedly fighting this without necessarily enough goods and thus, it will ricochet back and hurt them as it did for the Republicans when they went after Clinton? Or are they going to get more of a groundswell of support for actually having gone down this road? Right now, public support -- it's not really with them that -- there's
not enough of the general population that is endorsing the idea of impeachment to make the Speaker comfortable with this idea, which lends more credence to the fears that Democrats have that maybe Republicans like Biggs are right this juncture.
But this again, is the fundamental push and pull. Is it going to look very legitimate and like it was their last option, they had to do it? That's what Democrats who want to -- who want to convince the Speaker are trying hard --
BALDWIN: Karoun, forgive me. Right now, we're going to come back to you. We're going to come back to what's happening in Washington, D.C. We are getting some breaking news regarding a helicopter crash. That's all, I have at this moment, a helicopter crash we've got our justice correspondent Shimon Prokupecz, working this for us. Shimon, where and what?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes.
BALDWIN: And how?
PROKUPECZ: The NYPD and the FDNY is now responding. They are on scene, in what appears to be a helicopter that has crashed in Midtown Manhattan. This is just steps from Times Square, it's at 51st and 7th Avenue.
We don't know of any injuries right now. There's conflicting information as you could imagine. What we're hearing is that there is a fire. The Fire Department is there. The NYPD is there.
[14:10:03] PROKUPECZ: It's not clear if this helicopter crashed -- crash-landed on top of the building or into the building, but there is a fire from what we are being told. And now the Fire Department and the NYPD, obviously, in a massive response to this. They are mobilizing units to control some of the traffic there. Obviously, the Fire Department there and the NYPD Emergency Services Unit, to conduct any kind of rescues.
So, as you can imagine, Brooke, it's still very much unclear exactly what we're dealing with, whether this was intentional or some kind of an accident.
I can tell you just from experience, and you probably know this, that it's not uncommon for helicopters to fly over Times Square. Usually, they could be taking photos. It could be for a movie shoot. It could be for something else. So that could be what we're dealing with, and the NYPD --
BALDWIN: And here's live pictures, Shimon.
BALDWIN: Let me just jump in because if you're not in New York, it is pouring down rain. And so, this is what the fire crews and rescue crews, obviously, EMS responding to all of this. You see the umbrellas but this is what -- this is just another factor here as you're reporting on this -- this helicopter crash and massive fire in the middle of Midtown Manhattan, near Times Square.
PROKUPECZ: Yes, and that's what the NYPD tells us and the Fire Department, that was the initial call that a helicopter had crashed. There was some indication that this may have been a crash landing on top of this building and then the this helicopter caught fire.
Initial reports weren't even clear on whether it was a helicopter or some kind of a small plane, but the Fire Department and the NYPD is telling us, they believe at least, at this point that this was a helicopter. They don't know of any injuries but they do tell us that there is a fire and that's why the Fire Department is there.
And again, we're obviously working to find out how many injuries there are, if anyone has survived this. But obviously, a very chaotic -- I mean, when you think about where this happened at Times Square, 51st and 7th Avenue. It was right there in the center of Manhattan, in the heart of Manhattan, so serious, serious situation here. And you could see that by the response from the NYPD and the Fire Department -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Shimon Prokupecz, thank you so much for jumping in and we'll let you go and you can make your calls to all your sources and NYPD and beyond.
Listen, if you are just joining us, we are now reporting on a pretty intense situation in really the heart of Midtown Manhattan. This is Times Square and you're seeing the rescue vehicles and Fire running to this scene as there has been -- and it's early on. So, I can't even say if it was an accident, it's a helicopter crash into this building at 7th Avenue and 51st that is just around Times Square.
It is pouring rain in Manhattan today. And there are so many questions unanswered. Was this intentional? Why is this helicopter trying to land on the top of this building? A lot of helicopters back and forth, a lot of helicopter traffic in and around Manhattan especially in the summertime.
Let's start to get some answers and some analysis. I've got Mary Schiavo on the phone with me. Mary, let's just start, you know, ground zero on this. Helicopters flying around Manhattan, what do you know?
MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST (via phone): Well, you know, I've worked in many accidents where there have been fatal crashes of helicopters. So, you know, immediately we don't assume that it's terrorism and we haven't had that since September 11, 2001.
So, I mean, we've seen crashes in New York. There was a tour helicopter that crashed into the Hudson River. There's been prior plane crashes in New York, Cory Lidle plane crashed into a building probably 10 years ago, and there was American Airlines 587, which is just two months after September 11.
So, there are many reasons that they can go down in New York. Usually, it's a couple -- two things. It's a mechanical failure or weather, and of course there was a prior Hudson River crash that was at midair. So, there are a lot of reasons for this.
Tough operating a helicopter, you mentioned it was pouring down rain. We don't know of course what the weather was and the winds were exactly at the moment that this happened, but winds present -- are very tricky in New York City, particularly trying to land on a building in Manhattan. So that could play something in that, too.
BALDWIN: Hang on one second for me, Mary, we're going to listen in to a local affiliate, here in New York -- WCBS from some of their Intel.
ALI BAUMAN, CBS2 GENERAL ASSIGNMENT REPORTER: You can see them having right here behind me, they have stretchers going out. People right now -- there doesn't appear to be any -- that we see, any visible victims, just a big heavy police presence, a lot of people on the scene. Everyone trying to figure out what's going on and where they can be safe for the most part.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ali, if I could ask you, and I know it's difficult to see and difficult to maneuver there. The other question -- certainly, there's a possibility if this helicopter indeed went into this building that something may have rained down onto the street. But it appears, based on what you're describing or at least what you're looking at that, that does not appear to be the case?
[14:15:10] BAUMAN: Yes, we don't see anything, like you're saying raining down, and that was kind of when we were driving here, and we knew the intersection to go to. Do we need to go to 51st and 7th? We were looking up into the sky, being like, well, can we follow some kind of path? But there wasn't anything visibly from the street that we could see, at least on the way here or here right now.
I mean, the air doesn't feel, or smell, or seem any different than what it would be on a normal rainy day here. A lot of people even around me, like kind of, just looking up trying to figure out what's going on with their umbrellas around here as the police continue to just expand this crime scene -- this crime scene tape and make the scene larger and larger for fewer and fewer people to get through.
We have people here directing pedestrians away from the scene. A lot of people standing around. Let me see if we can ask some people around here. Hi gentlemen, were you guys here at all when this happened? Did you hear or see anything?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just came outside.
BAUMAN: Did you hear any kind of large noise crash?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not at all. Not from our building, we were a couple of buildings down.
BAUMAN: So did you come out here and --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was actually just coming out just to grab coffee.
BAUMAN: Okay, we see a lot of people not knowing -- what's going on so much, just a lot of -- but we're out here, we have some investigators there. Let's see what else is going on behind here. That's the entrance of the building where we -- when we first got here we were able to go towards but then immediately got kicked out. That's where the Fire and Emergency responders were all going in.
But yes, to answer your question, there's not a lot of evidence in the air or in the sky that we can see. But then again, it's very cloudy and foggy up there that there wouldn't be much we could see anyways.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're getting some new information right now. And I can tell you, so far, according to our sources only one injury so far. We don't know the extent of that injury. So far, we're told that the damage is contained to the roof of this building at 787 Seventh Avenue --
BALDWIN: Okay, so we've been dipping into local news reports here in New York, those who have been following this Midtown Manhattan helicopter crash on a day where the weather has been absolutely abysmal and you heard the reporter starting to report out on injuries.
We don't know that information yet. We don't know injuries. We don't know fatalities. All we know is that a helicopter has crashed into this building in Midtown Manhattan, 51st and 7th Avenue. So that's roughly eight or so blocks shy of Central Park if you know New York, if you've been in New York. And so, it's --
All right, let's go back to Shimon Prokupecz, who has been working his sources. Shimon, what more do you know?
PROKUPECZ: Brooke, we can confirm right now that there's been at least one injury. This was a helicopter crash. What's not entirely clear is how this helicopter crashed into the building. Did it crash into the building? Did it make a hard landing, like a crash landing on top of this building. But what I'm told is that the Fire Department and the NYPD, the Emergency Services Unit are all on the roof now.
There is a fire that they are trying to put out. And like we've said, there is at least one injury at this point, according to officials that we've been talking to. Obviously, the big question is, what was this helicopter doing over Time Square? That's part of the investigation we don't yet know. And the Fire Department and the NYPD now just trying to get that area safe, trying to get the fire out, do any rescues that need to be done, and make sure that no one in the building has been injured or anyone in the building is in danger.
Obviously they have to evacuate the entire area now. So that is ongoing. Traffic, as you can imagine is a mess at this point. But the big thing now for the Fire Department and the NYPD is to get that fire out and to try and conduct any rescues that could be ongoing at this point. But like we said, just to recap, one injury at this point -- Brooke. BALDWIN: Got it, got it. One injury, fire on the roof. And to just
-- to Shimon's point, we don't know if this helicopter crash landed. We don't know anything surrounding the helicopter. Again, you're seeing the umbrellas --
PROKUPECZ: There's the Governor, that's the Governor.
BALDWIN: There he is. Let's see if we can listen in.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go ahead, Governor.
ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY), GOVERNOR: The preliminary information we have --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor, we're all live right now. So, what can you tell us?
CUOMO: This is very preliminary information. The Fire Department is on scene and they're responding, but the preliminary information is that there was a helicopter that made a forced landing -- emergency landing, or landed on the roof of the building for one reason or another.
There was a fire that happened when the helicopter hit the roof. People who were in the building said they felt the building shake.
[14:20:01] CUOMO: The Fire Department believes the fire is under control. There may have been casualties involved in people in the helicopter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do we know at this point how many were on that helicopter?
CUOMO: We do not know. But right now, we believe the fire is under control. Again, casualties involved with the helicopter -- we don't know caused the helicopter to land on the top of the building. But people in the building itself, nobody has been hurt. Some people have been evacuated. This is all very preliminary and the Fire Department is just in the midst of responding right now as we speak.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor, I wonder what goes through your mind when you hear some kind of a aircraft into a building?
CUOMO: They are not defining it as either a hard landing or an emergency landing -- just that the helicopter landed on, to use a word, on the rooftop of the building which caused the fire. So obviously --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was there a helipad on this building?
CUOMO: I don't know. But obviously, it created a fire, so it was not a routine landing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, Governor, when you hear an aircraft has hit a building in Midtown Manhattan, what went through your mind? What do you presume went through the minds of people in New York? CUOMO: Well look, this is a -- if you're a New Yorker, you have a
level of PTSD, right, from 9/11. And 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 Yorkers mind goes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But at this point there's no indication --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As you were saying before, you tossed to me that it's a very --
CUOMO: At this point there is no indication that that is the case. The only indication was a helicopter had to do an emergency or hard landing or crashed onto the rooftop of the building causing a fire, but there's no indication of anything more than that. Again, this is all very preliminary and these situations are evolve very quickly as we know. But that's all we know at this time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Governor.
CUOMO: Thank you.
BAUMAN: Thank you, Governor Cuomo, we appreciate your time. As you just heard the Governor say, he is being told that it was a helicopter who was forced to make some kind of a crash landing on the building --
BALDWIN: Okay, so you just heard from the Governor and the headline really is that it was a forced landing from this helicopter on the roof. Why it was forced to land -- we can't begin to speculate. He said, it caused a fire in the roof, thus all these firefighters there on the scene in Midtown Manhattan. He did say, the fire was under control.
You know, just imagine being in that building and we don't even know if it's, you know, a lot of high-rises in Midtown Manhattan, I don't know how high, how huge this building would have been but certainly, he said the people in the building felt the building shake. He confirmed one injury but we have nothing as far as fatalities. He did say there may be casualties in the helicopter but that's as far as he went.
Shimon Prokupecz, Josh Campbell, Brynn Gingras, are all with me. Josh Campbell, let me let me go to you, former FBI. What are -- what's jumping out at you as you're hearing some of these details?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: So, there are different phases to incident management we've seen in different crises. The first is that emergency response and that's what we're seeing on our screen right now -- pictures of emergency vehicles arriving. Obviously, the police and FDNY, they're setting up a cordon around the incident area.
Their number one goal right now is to mitigate any continuing threat to life. So they're going to put the fire out as the Governor mentioned, and again, try to ensure that there's no one that's actually impacted. What we also have to keep in mind is that although we're seeing this
on our screen, there are a number of different resources that are now deployed that are also working this, from Federal, state and the local level, you'll have the New York JTTF for example, that will be monitoring this as well as officials at the NTSB that are gearing up to deploy any time you have a transportation-related accident or incident. They will be arriving as well.
Now, the second phase of this is, obviously, what happened? What brought this aircraft down? That's that will take time for us to gather information about the investigation. We know that weather, as we see on our screens right now, we know from the weather forecast it's obviously not optimal right now so that could be a factor we just don't know.
And in the last phase, and again, the Governor mentioned, "This is New York City, we all know that this is a target, it has remained one." The question will be: Was this isolated? Was this intentional? Again, we have no indication that that is the case right now, particularly as it relates to the weather, but that will be the investigation.
The last thing Brooke is that one thing that I think is of interest right now as we look at the pictures is what we're not seeing. The Governor mentioned this aircraft came down on the roof of the building. We're not seeing the video footage of remnants of the aircraft coming down to the street for example, or crashing. And so, it appears as though that airframe may be relegated to the top of that building.
Again, we don't have that additional footage or images that will help us determine whether or not perhaps someone onboard that aircraft would have been able to survive such an incident. So many questions right now but we see all hands on deck.
BALDWIN: Josh, thank you, stand by. I know I've got Miles on the phone -- Miles O'Brien but I'll come to you just a second. But Brynn Gingras, you now have news that this was fatal.
[14:25:03] BRYNN GINGRASS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There was a fatality on this aircraft -- the helicopter, again as we are reporting. Again, we don't know how many people are actually on this helicopter when it had this hard landing or crash landing as officials are describing it, but again we do know one person has died.
It is not clear as you heard the Governor say, there's casualties. not clear if that's a multiple at this point, but according to all our sources that we've been working right now, we do have one person who was killed.
We also know, as Josh was describing, you know the logistics of this building and it's not far from Central Park, talking to my sources there is that concern -- was it flying over Central Park and this was the only building it could land on? What sort of aircraft are we talking about? Is it sightseeing and because of the weather, it had no choice but to land? Or was it forced to land? What happened? We know that it caused that fire and over a hundred Fire personnel are
now racing up that building. You heard the Governor say they are basically putting that out, but they're making that response as that building is being evacuated at this point to respond to that rooftop.
BALDWIN: Hard to imagine on the day like today that you'd be sightseeing in a helicopter over Manhattan, but let's talk to Miles O'Brien who is the expert on all things aviation and Miles, I don't know if you're in Manhattan and you've seen how hard this rain has been coming down all day long.
But when you hear the Governor describe it as a crash landing or what did he say? A forced landing on the roof of this building, what would be reasons to do that?
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, Brooke in the case of helicopters, if you lose an engine, let's say it's a single-engine helicopter. The helicopter is capable of doing what's called an auto rotation which is essentially that the blades keep spinning, but just under -- by virtue the force of the wind going past them. But it does slow down the descent enough that it can be survivable.
But there's a lot of things that have to go right to make that work just right. Hard to say if that's the case. As you said, weather might be a factor in all of this one. We should consider that given the low ceilings and low visibility there. It sure doesn't seem like a day for a sightseeing by helicopter in New York. I suspect that it's not what we're seeing here.
But if you spend any time in Manhattan, there are a lot of helicopters that are flying around the island and across Central Park especially. There are three heliports that ring the island. There was a time when helicopters landed on top of what was then the PanAm building , now the MetLife Building. In 1977, that ended with a horrific crash up there when a landing gear collapsed on a helicopter and the blades spun off and killed five people.
So there's no landing on top of buildings in New York anymore, except in, I suppose an emergency situation. There's a lot of factors to consider here right now. Was it an engine failure? Was it compounded by bad weather? We'll have to see this thing unfold.
BALDWIN: As I'm listening to you, I'm also wondering, I'm thinking back to Josh Campbell's point that -- and I know there are only so many cameras and we can only get so close to the scene or our affiliates can only get so close to the scene.
Let me pause on my point and I'm going to read this FAA statement, "We are gathering information about an incident involving a helicopter that crashed into a building in Midtown Manhattan. We will post a statement as soon as we have confirmed information. Please contact NYPD and NYFD."
All right, so they're looking into it. My point was in listening to Josh Campbell, we have yet not seen, Miles, and hopefully this is an encouraging sign -- we have not seen pieces of debris from this helicopter falling on the street, which makes me wonder if it is possible that this helicopter is intact on the top of the building.
O'BRIEN: It could have been, you know, a very hard landing after an auto rotation, very possibly, Brooke, and there's a lot of variables that would cause it to break apart potentially or not and one of the factors to consider is just the square footage of the roof.
In the case of that crash I mentioned in 1977, a piece of the rotor blade actually fell down on to the street and one of the fatalities was a woman walking near the Grand Central Terminal at that time. So, that is a horrific thought on its own right.
So if in fact we have a situation where you have a single pilot in a helicopter with a forced landing that did not go well, that is bad enough, but when you consider the possibility of flying over Midtown Manhattan and what could have happened or might have happened, I think we can all agree we could shudder at that thought.
BALDWIN: Yes, absolutely. Miles O'Brien, thank you very much. Standby for me. If you are just joining us, there has been a forced helicopter landing on top of one of the buildings in Midtown Manhattan. This is just a couple of blocks shy of Central Park at 7th Avenue and 51st Street. We don't know the conditions on which this helicopter had to crash land.