The pilot, who was tragically killed after a helicopter crash-landed atop a high-rise building in New York City’s Midtown neighborhood on Monday, has been identified.
Tim McCormack, 58, was a volunteer firefighter with the East Clinton Volunteer Fire Department, ECVFD confirmed in a statement shared on Facebook.
McCormick had served as Chief of the department for 10 years.
“Tim was a dedicated, highly professional and extremely well-trained firefighter. Tim’s technical knowledge and ability to command an emergency were exceptional,” the statement read.
“Chief McCormack was extremely respected by not only the members of the department, but throughout the Dutchess County fire service.”
“Tim will be exceptionally missed by this department’s members, not only for his leadership, but for his wonderful sense of humor. Rest in Peace Brother,” the statement concluded.
The aircraft made a “hard landing” on the roof of the 51-story AXA Equitable Building, after which a fire was extinguished, authorities with the New York Police Department tweeted.
McCormack was the only person on the aircraft, an NYPD source told PEOPLE.
The crash was reported around 2 p.m. at 787 7th Avenue at 51st Street, according to WNBC. The building was then evacuated.
Hours after the incident, the New York City Fire Department tweeted images of the scene, showing broken and burned helicopter parts scattered atop the building.
“The only indication was a helicopter had to do an emergency or a hard landing, or crashed onto the rooftop of a building,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a Monday news conference. “There’s no indication of anything more than that.”
Cuomo added, according to NBC News: “If you’re a New Yorker, you have a level of PTSD 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 Yorker’s goes.”
— FDNY (@FDNY) June 10, 2019
The New York City Fire Department said it was sending more than 100 emergency workers to the scene. As footage showed authorities blocking off roads and fire trucks and police vehicles surrounding the building, police urged the public to avoid the area “due to an ongoing police investigation.”
Prior to his death, McCormack documented a number of his helicopter flights on his Facebook page, one of which was a 2014 emergency landing caused by a bird, the Associated Press reported.
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At the time of the incident, McCormack had been carrying out a sightseeing tour over Manhattan when a bird struck the windshield of his Bell BHT 407, according to the outlet.
McCormack was forced to land at the West 30th Street Heliport.
“It was pretty much like an explosion going off in your cockpit, a little bit of a pandemonium kind of thing, you know, you have to gather yourself and we headed over to 30th street, McCormack told ABC 7 New York at the time.