Helicopter crash on NYC building roof leaves pilot dead amid questions

first_imgiStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A pilot died when a helicopter crashed onto the roof of a Midtown Manhattan building in a hard landing on Monday, filling the air with smoke and clogging the city streets with fire trucks, according to police and fire officials. The pilot, Tim McCormack, was the only person on board the privately owned helicopter, said police and fire officials.No one else was injured in the crash, which took place in the heart of New York City, just blocks from Times Square, according to city officials.It’s believed to be an accident and there’s no indication of terrorism, a senior official with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told ABC News.The cause of the “shocking, stunning incident” is unclear, said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.“There is no ongoing threat to New York City,” the mayor added.The hard landing sparked a fire that has since been extinguished, though officials said fuel is leaking from the Agusta A109E helicopter.The crash — which took place shortly before 2 p.m. — came on a rainy New York afternoon. Both Newark and LaGuardia Airports are in a ground stop due to visibility and thunderstorms, according to the FAA.The pilot took off from the 34th Street heliport on the east side of Manhattan and was heading to Linden, New Jersey, officials said.“This could have been a much worse incident,” the mayor told reporters. “Thank God no other people were injured.”The building — the AXA Equitable Building — is located at 787 Seventh Ave., between 51st and 52nd Streets.It’s a busy area of Midtown Manhattan, just below Central Park South, filled with business towers.The building is roughly between Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall, a few blocks southeast of Columbus Circle and southwest of the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.Shauna Farrell said she was in a meeting on the 36th floor of the building “when a window fell through and we heard a loud whizzing sound of a motor.”Then she said she felt the crash, prompting herself and others on the floor to get out of the building.“We ran down. I think we were the first floor to evacuate, actually, because we felt it so quickly,” Farrell told ABC News.“There was already FDNY on the scene. We were kind of just running away from the building as quickly as we could,” she said.Steven Gartner was on the 42nd floor of the building when he said he heard “a buzz and a bang — and then the entire building shook.”His colleagues “were anxious,” he told ABC News, but all managed to evacuate through the stairwell without panicking.Though the crash appeared to be accidental, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters, “If you’re a New Yorker, you have a level of PTSD from 9/11 … So as soon as you hear an aircraft hit a building, I think my mind goes where every New Yorker’s mind goes.”The president is monitoring the situation, according to a White House official.“Phenomenal job by our GREAT First Responders who are currently on the scene,” President Donald Trump tweeted. “THANK YOU for all you do 24/7/365! The Trump Administration stands ready should you need anything at all.”The AXA Equitable Building was built in 1985 and has 51 stories and 1.8 million square feet, according to commercial real estate website Compstak. It contains offices for asset management firms and law firms and a software company, according to the site. A Citibank and sandwich shop Pret a Manger are also housed in the building.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Hate draws a forceful response

first_imgOn Aug. 5, 2012, a white supremacist walked into a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisc., and started shooting. The resulting casualties ― the gunman killed six people and wounded four before dying of a self-inflicted wound ― made the attack, at the time, the worst hate crime in America (the shooting in Charleston, S.C., last year would claim more victims). That the response by the small Wisconsin city was not one of vengeance or retribution, but of reconciliation and a search for greater understanding, has been described as testament not only to the resilience of Oak Creek but to the better nature of the nation as a whole.The story of that horror, and the healing that came after, is the focus of a short documentary, “Waking in Oak Creek,” which screened at the Brattle Theatre on Tuesday. The final installment of the Religion Refocused series, sponsored by the Pluralism Project at Harvard and made possible by support from Mass Humanities, the screening was aimed at bringing the conversation around the incident to Cambridge, as was a panel discussion afterward. Moderated by Diana Eck, director of the Pluralism Project and a professor of religion in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the panel included the filmmaker, Patrice O’Neill, as well as community activists.“Waking in Oak Creek” opens with the 911 calls and incorporates police and news reports from the incident, the terror and chaos of which is made clear and personal in interviews with survivors. Family photos and film footage of the murder victims add to the poignancy, while interviews with Lt. Brian Murphy of the Oak Creek police, who was shot 15 times in the attack, illustrate the long road back for the wounded.But the emphasis in the film is on community action. Candlelight vigils united the city, including groups as diverse as the local American Legion, Christian churches, and Jewish synagogues, while testimony by Sikh temple members brought about legislation that clarified the status of Sikhs in federal hate crimes.O’Neill said that the 34-minute documentary, released in 2014, has been screened more than 3,000 times by community and police groups.,“This film is not about violence,” said O’Neill, a leader of the anti-bullying and anti-hate group Not in Our Town. “This film is about all the people … who can find a way to change and shift the culture that is becoming so toxic.”Explaining the film’s title, O’Neill quoted Pardeep Kaleka, who was also part of the panel. A former Milwaukee police officer, Kaleka, now a teacher, is the eldest son of Satwant Singh Kaleka, the murdered president of the Sikh temple.“We need to be awake,” O’Neill said, echoing Kaleka’s words in the film and citing the Sikh tenet of mindfulness and “relentless optimism” as the appropriate answer to hate.Panelist Arno Michaelis echoed that message. A former white supremacist, Michaelis co-founded the outreach organization Serve 2 Unite with Kaleka.“Belief that the world is basically good is the antidote to violence,” he said. Answering questions about his conversion, Michaelis recalled how various simple acts of friendship — a sandwich shared by an African-American co-worker, a job offer from a Jewish businessman ― ultimately guided him away from hate.Karin Firoza, the assistant director of the Center for Spirituality, Dialogue, and Service at Northeastern University, took the discussion into the Boston area, talking about her work with local youth.“There’s a lot of fear about being not only harmed but also discriminated against,” said Firoza, who is active with Boston’s Young Muslims Engaging, a high school group, and co-founded Roots & Wings Training and Consultation.For Kaleka, the trauma that he, his family, and his community suffered prompted a personal awakening, redirecting his life toward teaching and outreach. This was the message he came to share. “Every moment of fear, every moment of ignorance, is an opportunity,” he said. “Take every moment as an opportunity.”The 25th anniversary of the Pluralism Project will be celebrated during the opening of a special exhibit on Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Harvard Divinity School’s Andover-Harvard Theological Library. The celebration is open to the public and Professor Diana Eck will be on hand to provide remarks.last_img read more

Mum who petitioned for abortion law change won’t give up

first_imgNewsTalk ZB 8 July 2016Family First Comment: Good. Neither will weThe mother who petitioned to make it mandatory for parents to know if their children under 16 have an abortion, has pledged not to give up.Hilary Kieft’s 15-year-old daughter had an abortion at boarding school, but Ms Kieft didn’t find out about it until a year later when her daughter attempted suicide.A select committee has rejected the suggestion of mandatory notification, but agreed to strengthen post-abortion counsellingMs Kieft told Mike Hosking she’s disappointed with the decision.“I’m grateful for the minor changes they’re going to do. We still can’t protect our girls. It’s still going to carry on the same. You are going to have girls that are going to try to commit suicide and girls that will commit suicide. How then are we to help them.”Family First director Bob McCoskrie said politicians are taking power away from parents, who should have a protective factor.“The politicians have treated parents as being a potential enemy and to be treated as hostile. For some reason we should only trust professional counsellors and we shouldn’t trust parents.”READ MORE: http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/national/mum-who-petitioned-for-abortion-law-change-wont-give-up/.last_img read more