A dramatic video circulating on social media purportedly shows a helicopter flying erratically over the East River moments before crash landing on the roof of a high-rise building near New York City’s famed Time Square.
“Crazy helicopter on the east river,” Wendy Slater, who goes by @thingswendysees on social media and who was walking a dog, wrote in the post.
The video shows the helicopter over the river flying in various directions as the pilot attempts to stop the aircraft from falling out of the sky.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio appeared to confirm the helicopter seen in the video was the same aircraft that crash-landed on the roof of 787 Seventh Avenue in midtown Manhattan around 2 p.m. as rain and strong winds hammered with the city. He told CNN that officials were scrutinizing a video of a “very erratic” flight. He said authorities need to find out more about the pilot at the time he decided to take off.
“It did not look like a helicopter that was crashing or losing altitude,” De Blasio said. “It looked like a series of purposeful moves that were very erratic.”
A spokesperson for the National Transportation Safety Board, who is investigating the crash, told Fox News on Tuesday that it would not be able to confirm if it was the same helicopter, while the NYPD could also not confirm Fox News' inquiry.
The helicopter on Monday went down about 11 minutes after taking off from a heliport along the East River, a little more than a mile away.
The crash shook the 750-foot AXA Equitable building, sparked a fire and forced workers to flee on elevators and down stairs, witnesses and officials said.
Tim McCormack, a former volunteer fire chief and skilled pilot, was the only fatality reported from the crash landing. McCormack, 58, had been a member of the East Clinton Volunteer Fire Department in Dutchess County, N.Y., for decades.
It was not immediately clear what caused the crash, or why the Agusta A109E was flying in a driving downpour with a low cloud cover and in the tightly controlled airspace of midtown Manhattan. A flight restriction in effect since President Trump took office bans aircrafts from flying below 3,000 feet within a 1-mile radius of Trump Tower, which is less than a half-mile from the crash site.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill said the helicopter may have been returning to its home airport in Linden, N.J. The 19-year-old helicopter was linked to a real estate company founded by Italian-born investor Daniele Bodini, according to FAA records.
The National Transportation Safety Board sent an investigator.
Fox News' Talia Kaplan and the Associated Press contributed to this report.