NEW YORK - A helicopter crash landed onto the roof of a Midtown skyscraper Monday, killing the pilot, officials said.
The aircraft made a hard landing on top of the 54-story AXA Equitable Center on Seventh Ave. at W. 51st St. between about 1:50 p.m.
A fire broke out immediately after the crash on the roof, which was not equipped with a helicopter landing pad, law enforcement sources said.
The pilot was killed and still inside the mangled cockpit more than an hour after the crash, sources said. Nobody else was on board the chopper.
The helicopter crumpled in the landing and the roof suffered extensive fire damage. Fuel from the helicopter was leaking down the sides of the building in the aftermath of the crash, sources said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose city office is not far from the crash scene, held an impromptu press conference on the corner while using an umbrella to shelter himself from the rain.
"There was a helicopter that made a forced landing, emergency landing, or landed on the roof of the building for one reason or another," Cuomo said. "There was a fire that happened when the helicopter hit the roof. People that were in the building said that they felt the building shake."
The fire is now under control, Cuomo said, citing the FDNY.
Melvin Douglas, 50, was sitting across the street in front of the Winter Garden Theater when he heard a loud rumble.
"I heard a crash and then I felt the ground shake. I started to see smoke from the top of the building," he said. "I didn't see where the helicopter landed, I just know it hit the building."
Buildings in the Midtown area were evacuated by police and FDNY, creating crowds on the streets at the already busy lunchtime hour.
Mayor Bill de Blasio was meeting with NYPD brass in a fifth-floor conference room of the Manhattan at Times Square Hotel.
"If you're a New Yorker you have a level of PTSD from 9/11," Cuomo said. "As soon as you hear an aircraft hit a building my mind goes where every New Yorker's mind goes."
Cuomo added there was no indication the crash was anything more than accidental.
Visit New York Daily News at www.nydailynews.com