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Pilot Killed in Chopper Crash on Top of Manhattan Building; NYC Mayor: "No Indication that This was an Act of Terror; NYC Mayor: One Person Dead, No Passengers Believed Aboard; FDNY; Building is Safe, Fire is Extinguished. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired June 10, 2019 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: New York fire presence. Put the fire out. Had to get all of these people, all 51 floors of this building, out of the building safely. Out of the building safely. As we've been saying, it's just north of Time Square, just south of Central Park. If you have ever been in New York City, this is the heart of the city. This is where you have all these massive, tall building and huge avenues where you have a lot of lunchtime traffic. You can imagine the city has come to a standstill.
We have been reporting on the one fatality, at least one that we know of which is the pilot. We don't have a name for the pilot or a company which this pilot or this helicopter may be affiliated with or again why this helicopter was flying in weather that was just pretty poor as we've been watching the pictures play out here in New York City.
Got a number of reporters who have been covering all of this. We know that the President has been briefed.
In fact, the President tweeted just a little bit ago. I have been briefed on the helicopter crash in New York City, he says. Phenomenal job by our great first responders who are currently on the scene. Thank you for all you do 24/7, 365. The Trump administration sands ready should you need anything at all.
Guys, do we still have Shimon? If we do, I'd love to go to Shimon. Yes, Shimon Prokupecz's you are up, sir. Just on what kind of information you've been getting. We kind of -- or in that sort of wait and see phase. Right? Because we know the city. We know officials are going to brief -- they're going to hold some sort of news conference in the next little bit. So we're waiting for a lot of key pieces of information.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and perhaps one of the key pieces of information in all this is, what was this helicopter doing over Times Square? Did the pilot just lose control and was looking for a safe place to land? Because officials have described this as a hard landing. Sort of a crash landing. But it was much more serious than that, because there was a fire almost immediately after the helicopter made contact with the roof. That one pilot is dead.
And now investigators, like I said earlier, they're working really to find out if there's any air traffic communications. We know the FAA put out in their statement that they did not handle this aircraft, the helicopter. So the question then becomes was the pilot communicating with someone else, if anyone, or was the pilot just busy trying to get control of the helicopter?
Miles O'Brien, who was on with you a short time ago, gave us key pieces of information. That is that he heard from his sources that the helicopter took off from Teterboro airport, that's just outside New York City in New Jersey. A lot of private planes, small type aircraft and a lot of these executive aircraft type. These helicopters do come out of that airport. So that would tell us that this was not a sightseeing helicopter, as Miles said.
I also know from personal -- just from being in New York for so many years that these kind of helicopters are not used for sightseeing. So where was this helicopter going? Why was it up in the air? And exactly what was the path that it took and where exactly did this helicopter start to lose control? And that's actually the big question now.
We know that the investigators there in New York are gathered now outside this building. They're getting all their information together before they do this news conference which we expect could happen at any moment now. To update us on exactly all the questions that we have right now.
But good news here for now, this appears to be under control. There doesn't appear to be anyone else injured and it looks like the fire department and NYPD have secured this scene. But nonetheless, obviously still a lot of activity around there. Frightening for a lot of people in that area. People working in that building who had to rush out of there, not knowing really what was going on.
Can you imagine feeling the building shaking and all of a sudden, you're just told either stay in your seat or go evacuate. Instincts kick in and you start to want to leave and run out of these building. But we've heard a lot of people from the building say well, you know, it took so long for us to get out because the stairwells are crowded and we weren't told exactly what to do. And in some cases, they were saying, you know, we were told to stay in our seats, at our desks until more information becomes available.
Well there's a reason for that. And these buildings train for this. The emergency management of these buildings train for these kinds of situations. Because they don't want everyone running out at the same time. And then people get stuck in stairs.
Think about this. If this fire was much more severe, let's say, you could have had smoke in the stairwell of this building. So while everyone is heading toward the stairwell, there could be smoke building up in the stairwell and people could have choked to death. So these are the things that building managers think about.
Certainly in Manhattan, which has been a target for many, many years and certainly after 9/11, where a lot of these building have been training for this. [15:35:00 ]They run drills on what to do. And luckily, you know,
right now it seems as sad as this is for certainly what happened here, we have one pilot who's dead, and now really just a lot of answers as to what's going on. Because I do think it's interesting that this helicopter was in the air given the weather. I think that's going to be a big question on everyone's mind is why was this helicopter flying given the weather?
BALDWIN: Yes. To Miles' point, Miles is one of our favorite pilots who we talk to on CNN, Miles O'Brien. And we were talking about the make and the model of this helicopter. Because he was thinking perhaps the engine went out and he needed to crash land. But once we learned what type it was, it's a twin engine. So if you lose one, you have the other. His question, of course, then really might it have been bad, bad weather.
PROKUPECZ: Brooke, as you know, these helicopters fly over Manhattan all the time. This specific type of helicopter, you do see in the air along the Hudson River where there's a helipad right by Hudson yard. We have a helipad there. And you could -- you do see these kinds of helicopters flying around along the water. They're transporting people to perhaps to Teterboro Airport, other airports outside of New York. A lot of executives use these type of helicopters to ferry people back and forth.
BALDWIN: To avoid the traffic.
PROKUPECZ: Exactly. As you well know. So this happens a lot where you see these kind of helicopters in the air. But it's very rare that you have something like this flying over Times Square, the heart of Manhattan, crash, hard land into a building and then catch fire. We just don't see these kind of helicopters up over the air, especially over Times Square.
BALDWIN: OK. As I have you, I've just been handed this. Let's just read this here. And I wish we had a pilot who I could talk to. So the AW-109 helicopter. This is from the FAA. Manufactured by Leonardo Company, Italian based aerospace company. Its helicopters are marketed for transportation, medical, security and utility purposes. This is important. The AW-109 is manufactured in both single and twin-engine variants -- to Miles' point earlier. And so this is the kind of model according to FAA that was this helicopter that crashed at the top of this building.
Let's go back down to the scene, to Miguel Marquez, who has talking to a number of people who are in this building. Who had to evacuate and how frightening for them in the middle of their working day to feel this massive building shake. What more have you heard?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, you hear feel a building, you feel a building shaking, you hear a plane into a building in Manhattan and it is fear and adrenaline that shoots through you immediately. That was felt across the city whether you were in the building or not.
This is the building. What's amazing when you get here on scene is just how there is no obvious damage to the building itself or on the ground. So whatever happened, it happened seemingly all on the top of the building.
The Governor Mr. Cuomo saying that there was a crash landing on the building. It started a fire. We did see a ton of firefighters come up, go up into that building. And we've seen them now in the last hour come out. Many of their faces blackened with soot. The people that we spoke to who were in that building said they smelled smoke, more like lumber burning or construction site type stuff rather than a fuel or other sort of noxious chemicals that might have been associated with a larger aircraft that crashed into a building.
The chaos that you're seeing here is we expect the police commissioner, the fire commissioner to speak to us shortly, and the mayor to speak to us shortly to give us more details about what happened. What this helicopter was doing? Why it was flying in this weather? And how it was that it managed to land on this roof, crash land on this roof? And if it is only the pilot that is dead. It is an act of mercy. Because we are just a couple blocks from Times Square. Had it hit a building, ricocheted down, landed on people, there could have been many, many dozens of people injured, perhaps killed. Amazing that from all of this the scene is as controlled as it is -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Miguel, for people who are just tuning in -- I know you talk to one or two eyewitnesses who were in the building, you know the 29th floor, the 18th floor. What went on? Describe what they felt and what they had to do.
MARQUEZ: So the people that were up higher felt a tremor. They really felt the building shake. They knew something was wrong. Others, and as soon as it happened, rather than start moving forward the exits, everybody waited for more information. The alarms came on a short time later they said and told them to stay at their desks. And it wasn't until they said that everyone to evacuate that the literally entire building moved into the evacuation corridors down the stairs.
There were reports that it was very, very crowded, but orderly. And on the higher floors they could smell smoke coming from above the stairwells.
[15:40:03] Often are basically a shaft way, an airway through the building, so that would make sense. Orderly as possible, but certainly a lot of frayed nerves and very big shock to people in the building. Because to feel it shake, not know what it is, to be told to stay at your desk for ten minutes or so and then be told to evacuate, I think a lot of people's minds went to September 11th, 2001, and the way it unfolded and nobody wanted to be caught in that building.
And they weren't sure. People were going down the stairs and they weren't sure that that was the right thing to do, because they weren't sure if there was something happening below them. There was just not enough information. So they kept going out. And the two floors from the people we've spoken to, the 29th and 14th, they said their colleagues are fine, and it appears that everybody has gotten out of the building safely -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: We've got that interview. We'll turn it around from the gentleman on the 29th floor. Let's play it -- guys.
MARQUEZ: We have Morgan Aries here. He was on the 14th floor of this building. Is that correct, sir?
MORGAN ARIES, WAS ON THE 14TH FLOOR OF BUILDING: Yes.
MARQUEZ: How are you doing? A little shaken, I take it.
ARIES: A little shaky at this point, but at least now we've got clarity as to what happened?
MARQUEZ: What were you in the middle of and what happened?
ARIES: So I work on the 14th floor. I commute every day. I'm here. And we were in our chairs and we felt a little bit of a tremor. Like, wow, that's something that's unusual. That doesn't normally happen. And sure enough about ten minutes later, five, ten minutes later we heard the loudspeaker. The guy reported we need to evacuate immediately. The first report we got was that we needed to stay in our seats and just remain.
MARQUEZ: Stay in your seats?
ARIES: Stay there. The very first report was just we're finding more clarity on what's going on. And then about another five minutes later they said, OK, it's time to evacuate. Everyone please go to the stairwells. Please get up and go. And so that's when we did. And it was a little nerve wracking in the stairwell because nobody knew what was going on. But we did feel the tremors. So that's what made it a little more surreal.
MARQUEZ: Was it orderly getting out? Were you able to get out properly?
ARIES: Yes, it was a little congested obviously. We've got a lot of floors in the building to get out. A lot of people, but there was a moment in which we all couldn't get out of the building immediately because we were backlogged in there.
MARQUEZ: How long were you at your desk before you guys all started to moved? About five minutes?
ARIES: I would say five or ten minutes is when we eventually started to get up and out of there and evacuate from the 14th floor. But it took a good amount of time to actually get out of the building because there was congestion in the stairwell.
MARQUEZ: When you heard, did you hear it was -- at what point did you know it was some sort of aircraft that hit the building?
ARIES: Everybody in the stairwell was just checking the news to find out what was going on. Because like I said at a couple points in time ,we were so congested that we weren't able to actually get out fast. So once everyone was checking their phones. We were looking news, for updates. It wasn't until we got outside of the building that we understood that it was actually a helicopter that hit the building.
MARQUEZ: I take that would have been less helpful to know that information.
ARIES: Yes. There was a lot of sirens going on when we got out of the building.
MARQUEZ: Did you smell smoke? Did you see any fire?
ARIES: No, none of that. None of that.
MARQUEZ: Do you know if there's a helicopter pad on top of this building?
ARIES: I do not know that that.
MARQUEZ: Can we get your name?
ARIES: Yes, Morgan Aries.
MARQUEZ: Thank you very much.
BALDWIN: All right, forgive me. That was the guy from the 14th floor. We've heard from a number of people within this building, various floors, all you know frightened. We listened to Governor Cuomo. Any time if you're in the city of New York and you hear anything about an aircraft flying on or near or into a building, it just takes you back. So just hearing these various people recount how frightening it was, just kind of gives you goose bumps.
I want to read a tweet from Thomas Chan, who's an NYPD chief of transportations. And this is his tweet.
Pedestrian and vehicle traffic closures in place from 42nd -- that's Times Square -- 42nd to 57th streets between 8th and 6th avenues in Manhattan. Please use alternate routes.
So I think you can pretty much guarantee if you are in Manhattan today, you want to avoid this entire area as there has been a massive, massive response from both police and fire. Brynn Gingras is with me. Brynn we're waiting for some sort of briefing. We know it's coming from New York officials. In the meantime we wait. What have you been working on?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they even tweeted a picture of them huddled together. And that's really the important thing is when they come to the microphone, they wait to know as much as they can possibly report. So that's probably why this keeps getting delayed.
BALDWIN: As they should.
[15:45:00] GINGRAS: As they should, exactly. We like to know true information not necessarily just preliminary, but one thing I am sort of learning in my conversations with people is that this weather is proving to be more of an issue with the investigation side, right. We talked about how cameras are stationed all around the city and that's part of the investigation. I mean, in any sort of incident that happens, authorities go right to the cameras. Because there's so many around New York City.
Well, in particular, with the helicopter, as Shimon pointed out, there's no news helicopters up high.
BALDWIN: Was the weather is so bad?
GINGRAS; The weather is so bad. It's affecting cameras as well as you can imagine it sounds like. Again this is just having candid conversations. I don't know for sure but that might be something that might cause some hiccups for them to figure out exactly where this helicopter came from. I know that's a big question we're hearing Teterboro. We're hearing east side, we're hearing the west side, it's not 100 percent sure where it came from, at least us right now.
The authorities have it pretty much nailed down, but we'll find out more. But that is something that might be causing a hiccup at this point. And that's really it, investigators are working right now. You know, the NTSB is in charge. But of course, they have support of the NYPD, the FDNY who is possibly still p there on top of that building.
BALDWIN: What are they looking at? What are they specifically looking at on the top of that big building?
GINGRAS: I mean again, the biggest thing is the tail number. They want to know exactly that will tell you everything. Because it has to be recorded, right. They have to figure out where it came from and where was it headed? Was it going on the path it said it was going to go on? Did it go off path? That's another big question that's being asked right now. And we've thrown around this hero call. Was that the case? I'm hearing conversations.
I know Miguel just asked that gentleman on the street, is there a helipad on top that this helicopter knew about? Did he know about it? You know, it's possible that experienced pilots might know about helipads all across the city that aren't necessarily functioning or to be used, but he might have been aware of it, and tried to specifically land again in that highest building in that section of midtown. But again, it looks like the weather is proving to be a big issue. It was from the beginning of this and it still continues to be trying to figure out what happened here.
BALDWIN: What is pretty extraordinary though as we've been looking at these pictures of this building. And I don't know if that's smoke coming off the top or what but is it despite something as horrific as having a helicopter crash on the top of a 51-story building, there were never from what anyone around the area has seen, no pieces of debris. Nothing falling on people. Shimon's point about had it been a bigger fire, it would have filled the stairwell, who knows what would have happened to all the presumably hundreds of and hundreds of people who evacuated. Just all things big picture to keep in mind as we follow this.
GINGRAS: Totally. And when you think about the NTSB and they start they're investigation, we'll exactly, probably learn how it landed at some point, and was it a fact that this pilot did save lives. Immediately my mind goes to the miracle on the Hudson. That plane landed in the Hudson River, and everyone on board was safe, and it avoided buildings, it avoided any sort of destruction along its path.
So obviously much smaller scale, I don't want to conflate the two but at the same time it's pretty remarkable to hear this happening from beginning to end. Seeing these pictures that remind you of all these things that happened in New York. And it's just going to be another story.
BALDWIN: Yes. Yes. Brynn, thank you very much.
BALDWIN: David Soucie, let me loop back around to you. You know, to Brynn's point, we did see this picture of the New York Mayor and the Police and Fire Commissioners all huddled together. You referred to it as a war room. We know NTSB is in charge of the investigation. What are some of the questions they're working out right now? No David Soucie. Josh Campbell, are you around with me? Can you talk to me a little bit about what some of the behind closed doors as officials are talking before, they step out in front of the cameras to brief the rest of us, what are the key questions they're working through?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: So, I think the first thing we have to stop and do is, you know, in the United States we lionize Firefighters. And rightly so. These are people that rush into danger. And that's what's happening right now. We saw the pictures of them responding. What we don't see is inside the building. We had a retired fire department official who was on earlier talking about having to possibly trek up 51 floors carrying equipment and fire hoses in order to put the fire out.
Again, these are people that go to work every single day not knowing what kind of danger they're going to rush into. So I think it's important to pause and obviously thank them for what they're doing. We also have to understand departments like the FDNY, they train for these types of incidents continually. Now in the United States any department will respond and prepare based on the unique aspects of their area of operation.
Here in New York, obviously, urban rescue would be a key aspect of that training that goes into preparing for these types of incidents. And so it's essentially like clockwork. Again, you have the continual training. And once the call goes out that you have an issue, an incident to respond to, fire departments are going to go out. It's also important to note that they always bring more resources to the fight than they are actually going to need.
[15:50:00] Because you never know when you're going to have to tap into additional assets, additional fire department apparatus and the like. So we see that influx in and around that area. And the last is also obviously there first goal is to put out the fire to ensure that there's no loss of life. But in these type of situations, I know having talked to firefighters, my brother is a firefighter, we can't overlook the number of injuries that typically happen as people are fleeing the scene that are evacuating.
The firefighters and emergency personnel are having to attend to in those types of situations as well, so all of this appears to be just one person that sadly, obviously been killed. We haven't received reports of injuries but that's something always in the back of certain security officials' minds, is how do we evacuate a building, how do we get people out of danger without that very evacuation causing them harm?
And the fact that we're not hearings reports of danger right now shows that this appears to be a textbook case. We have these heroes rushing in and people trying to get people out of a potentially dangerous situation.
BALDWIN: The other piece of this, I'm just glancing back at my notes from the FAA. FAA air traffic controllers did not handle this particular flight and preliminary information is that only the pilot was aboard. So only the pilot. The pilot is the one confirmed fatality. And again, we watch and wait to hear from these various commissioners and officials having sat and been briefed and trying to get their heads wrapped around this whole situation, that has taken place, smack dab in the middle of midtown Manhattan. What are your other key questions, Josh, as we wait for this press conference to begin?
CAMPBELL: Yes, so obviously, the question about the weather is going to be key. We don't yet know based on this type of aircraft, at least, we haven't heard officially from authorities whether this was a single-engine aircraft, whether it was a twin engine aircraft. As I mentioned earlier, anyone that operates or is around helicopters, they know that there is very little margin for error, when there's any type of incident. You get that aircraft down as safely and as quickly as you can. And again, obviously, if you're in an urban area with high rise buildings, that only enhances the danger there. I will pause there as the officials come to the mic.
BALDWIN: Here we go. Here's the mayor.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, (D-NYC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Everybody ready? We have very strange, very troubling incident this afternoon here in Manhattan. A helicopter crashed into a building here. I want to say the most important thing first. There is no indication at this time that this was an act of terror. And there is no ongoing threat to New York City based on all the information we have right now. I have checked in with fire department, police department, and buildings department. There is no danger of any kind to New Yorkers at this point. And what I'm going to tell you and what my colleagues are going to
tell you is all preliminary information. I'm going to emphasize to everyone, a full investigation is going on, but we have only preliminary information at this point in time, but what we do know is that one person died in this helicopter crash. That person is presumed to be the pilot, but we are still waiting for absolute confirmation of that fact. There does not appear to have been any passenger in the helicopter, but again, we're waiting for absolute confirmation of that fact.
We do not know the cause of this incident. I'm sure you're going to all want to ask that. We do not know the cause. But again, we have no indication that there was any terror nexus here. There were no other injuries that we know of at this point in time to anyone in the building or on the ground. And I want to just say, thank god for that. This could have been a much worse incident. And thank god no other people were injured in this absolutely shocking, stunning incident.
I want to lastly say that the first responders performed an extraordinary effort here. I want to thank the fire department, police department, everyone, all, the buildings department, all the agencies that responded here, OEM, everybody. This was a very challenging situation that you're going to hear from the commissioner, a fire on the roof that had to be dealt with immediately. FDNY did an exception job in addressing the situation and ensuring that everyone would be safe. With that, I want to turn it to our Fire Commissioner, Dan Nigro.
DAN NIGRO, COMMISSIONER FDNY: As the Mayor has said, at 1:43 this afternoon, we received a call through 911 that this helicopter had crashed on the roof of this building. Members, local units responded in a little over four minutes. Members of the fire department, members of the police department made their way to the roof. We were able to put water on the fire quite quickly. Unfortunately, we did find a victim with the helicopter who as the Mayor stated, we presume was the pilot.
[15:55:00] That is the only victim of this crash. The fire has been extinguished. There was a -- some amount of fuel leaked, which we've mitigated. And right now, the building is safe. We haven't reoccupied it. The building management had begun a complete evacuation of the building. And that was ongoing as we arrived. And members of the fire department and the police department will remain on scene and await the arrival of NTSB and other agencies.
DE BLASIO: Police Commissioner Jimmy O'Neill.
JAMES O'NEILL, COMMISSIONER NYPD: Thanks, Mr. Mayor. So, at 1:43 this afternoon, the first 911 calls came in reporting a crash and a fire atop 787 7th avenue which is right across the street, and that's a 54-story office building. Emergency personnel responded as Dan Nigro said very quickly and FDNY personnel put out the fire. At this point, we have one confirmed fatality, an individual that is believed to be the pilot of a privately-owned helicopter. What we know is that at approximately 1:32 this afternoon, the
helicopter took off from the 34th street heliport and about 11 minutes later crashed on the roof across the street from where we are now. Right now, our detective bureau, our intelligence bureau, the FBI are working with the FAA and the NTSB to gather additional info on the pilot, we believe we've tentatively identified the aircraft, the flight path, and its owner. Don't have too much more, as we said. That's a preliminary. And at this point, take some questions.
DE BLASIO: We'll take a few questions.
O'NEILL: Josh. Hold on. Josh?
CAMPBELL: You say it's a privately-owned helicopter, (INAUDIBLE) --
O'NEILL: Yes, right, tentatively, we have it as executive travel, all right? Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know where it was headed at all?
O'NEILL: No, we don't. We think it was going back to its home airport in Linden, New Jersey. But we're not sure. Again, It's preliminary.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Commissioner, why was that helicopter in the air in weather like this?
O'NEILL: Not sure. That's part of the investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was this a pilot, was he the owner/operator of the helicopter --
O'NEILL: He doesn't appear to be the owner. We have him preliminarily identified, but it's not confirmed yet and of course we are looking out for his family, too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were there any distress calls or anything before the --
O'NEILL: That's part of the investigation to see if there was any contact made with air traffic control. Hold on, hold on. Back there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Aside from the weather, aside from the weather, was there other reasons why they shouldn't have been flying in this area? We're so close to Trump Tower and I know that air space is not allowed in that area --
O'NEILL: There's a TFR there, a temporary flight restriction and we're checking into that now, too.
DE BLASIO: And to be clear, just to finish this, that to go into that area, a helicopter would need the approval of LaGuardia tower and we need to find out if that happened or not here. We do know at this point.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did any debris fall from the roof (INAUDIBLE) -- DE BLASIO: Dan, I don't know if you have that.
NIGRO: So far, we've had some fall on to a setback on the building, but not to the street.
O'NEILL: Hold on, one at a time! Hold on. All right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you speak to the complexity of this response in the weather you had (INAUDIBLE) --
DE BLASIO: I just want to start. The firefighters had to deal with the fire well above the 50th story, which is extraordinarily difficult under any circumstance and in the middle of this weather. So FDNY did an extraordinary job today. Dan?
NIGRO: I think quickly getting up there, using the building elevators, pumping water over 700 feet requires a special hose, special pumpers, which we have available. They were put to good use today. And the members got those lines as quickly as possible up to that roof. And put this fire out. Which was a great accomplishment by the members and --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Commissioner was there any reason (INAUDIBLE) --
O'NEILL: Hold on! Hold on!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you very much. (INAUDIBLE) helicopter service in the city?
O'NEILL: You'll have to say that again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this accident, it's going to impact a decision by Uber to offer helicopter --
O'NEILL: That's preliminary, way too early. Yes. In the back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Previous contact --
DE BLASIO: We don't know that. Henry, we don't know that. That's what we're trying to confirm, if they had any contact with LaGuardia tower or any other entity.
O'NEILL: All right. As we get updates, we'll make them available. Thank you very much.
DE BLASIO: Thanks, everyone.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: You were just watching a press conference from New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, the New York Fire Commissioner James O'Neill, and the New York Fire Commissioner, Daniel Nigro. They were briefing about the helicopter crash on the roof of a building in Manhattan. What we now know, at least one person, the pilot, has been killed. They don't know of any other injuries or fatalities. That is presumed to be the pilot.
Hundreds of New Yorkers very evacuated from the building. It's a 51- story building in Manhattan, just a few blocks from Times Square. New York City Mayor De Blasio said moments ago that the cause of the crash is still not known. It's being investigated. More than a hundred fire and emergency units have responded to the scene. We're told that the helicopter took off shortly after 1:30, around 1:32 this afternoon East Coast time, from a heliport on 34th street. Let's go now to CNN anchor Anderson Cooper who's on the scene. Anderson?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Jake, thanks very much, we're here actually with Mayor De Blasio right in front of the building. Can you explain what at this time you know happened?
DE BLASIO: Anderson, what we know is preliminary, but this much we know. This helicopter took off from the 34th street heliport, ended up here, which is a very unusual situation.