Dutchess County mourns chopper pilot killed in NYC crash

Posted: Updated:

A former volunteer fire chief from Dutchess County is being mourned after his helicopter crashed into a New York City skyscraper.

Tim McCormack, of Clinton Corners, died after the helicopter he was flying crashed on the roof of a 54-story building in midtown Manhattan shortly after 2 p.m.

The helicopter was flying in rain and heavy clouds when it hit AXA Equitable building.


A real estate company, American Continental Properties, said McCormack had flown for the company for the past five years. FAA records said he had been certified in 2004 to fly helicopters and single-engine airplanes. He was certified as a flight instructor last year.

Authorities say the helicopter was being used for executive travel. New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill said Monday that the privately owned aircraft took off from a pad on the East River. He says it may have been headed to its home airport in Linden, New Jersey.

There are American flags all throughout Clinton Corners and the plan is to lower them all to honor Tim McCormack. 

Firefighters and friends have been gathering at the East Clinton Firehouse to remember McCormack, who had been a member of the department for 25 years, 10 as chief.  

Now, the flag flies at half-staff and the traditional purple and black bunting hangs in his honor. "We are a family we hold each other up, this is a devastating loss but we'll pull together and Tim would want us to pull together," says East Clinton Fire Chief Don Estes.

Dutchess County Executive Mark Molinaro says he knew McCormack personally. "I know his involvement. I knew his commitment to the community and he was always willing to be of assistance and help. Comes from a family of individuals who have contributed to the fabric of Dutchess County specifically as first responders."

The East Clinton Fire Department said in their Facebook post. "Tim was a dedicated, highly professional and extremely well trained firefighter. Tim's technical knowledge and ability to command an emergency were exceptional… Tim will be exceptionally missed by this department's members, not only for his leadership, but for his wonderful sense of humor."

The crash is under investigation, but officials say they can rule out terrorism. Photographs show that the helicopter was obliterated on impact.

Pictures released by FDNY on Monday show piles of burned rubble on the roof of the tower.

Only a few pieces of the wreckage are recognizable as having been parts of an aircraft, including a piece of the tail.

Damage to the building itself appears light.

The NTSB is now handling the investigation.

AP wires were used in this report


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