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story.lead_photo.caption Officers finish up their work Monday near the site where a helicopter crashed on the rooftop of a skyscraper in New York.

1 dead in NYC rooftop helicopter crash

NEW YORK -- A helicopter crash-landed on the roof of a rain-shrouded midtown Manhattan skyscraper Monday, killing the pilot and briefly triggering memories of the 9/11 attacks even though it appeared to be an accident unrelated to terrorism.

The crash near Times Square and Trump Tower shook the 750-foot-tall AXA Equitable building and forced office workers to flee on elevators and down stairs.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who spoke to reporters at the scene, said the impact caused a fire, but it was under control.

The pilot was believed to be the only one aboard, and there were no other reports of injuries, authorities said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the crash, or why the Agusta A109E was flying in tightly controlled airspace above midtown Manhattan. A flight restriction in effect since President Donald Trump took office bans aircraft 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.

The crash happened around 2 p.m., when clouds obscured the roof of the building. It occurred close to both Rockefeller Center and Times Square and sent rescue vehicles swarming to the building.

Videos posted by onlookers showed emergency vehicles in the street, but no obvious damage to the skyscraper.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the National Transportation Safety Board would oversee an investigation.

Iraq War vet tapped for Medal of Honor

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump will award the nation's highest military honor to former Army Staff Sgt. David G. Bellavia for actions in Iraq, the White House announced Monday.

Bellavia was leading a squad in support of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah on his 29th birthday in November 2004 when his platoon was pinned down by gunfire as he went from house to house. Bellavia engaged the insurgents, providing cover that allowed members of the platoon to exit safely. He later re-entered the house and killed at least four of the insurgents, who were firing rocket-propelled grenades.

Trump will present the Medal of Honor to Bellavia on June 25.

Bellavia was released from the Army in August 2005 after serving for six years and has been awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star and the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross. He wrote about the battle in a 2007 book, House to House: An Epic Memoir of War.

Bellavia ran for Congress in 2012, losing to U.S. Rep. Chris Collins in the Republican primary

He called the experience of being chosen for the Medal of Honor "very uncomfortable and awkward," but said he wants to represent Iraq War veterans, who have not had a living Medal of Honor recipient.

Dallas crane collapse victim identified

DALLAS -- Authorities identified 29-year-old Kiersten Symone Smith as the woman who was killed when a crane fell on a Dallas apartment building Sunday amid severe thunderstorms that also uprooted mature trees and left thousands without power across the city.

Smith was pronounced dead at a hospital, according to the Dallas County medical examiners' office, after the construction crane smashed into a five-story building near downtown, destroying peoples' apartments and reducing parts of an adjacent parking garage to a pile of concrete and mangled cars.

Smith was a resident of the apartment building, her sister, Toni Smith, said in a brief interview Monday. Toni Smith referred other questions to attorney Jonathan Cox, who said he could not immediately provide answers.

The crane fell around 2 p.m. as storms ripped across parts of Oklahoma and Texas, bringing high winds, heavy rain and hail that flooded streets and caused power failures.

At the Elan City Lights building damaged by the crane, fire crews escorted evacuated residents back inside to retrieve their possessions.

Judge lets Indiana abortion clinic open

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A federal judge has rejected an attempt by Indiana's attorney general to prevent what would become the state's seventh abortion clinic from opening in northern Indiana.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker on Friday denied Attorney General Curtis Hill's request for an immediate stay to prevent the South Bend clinic -- which would perform medication-induced abortions for women who are up to 10 weeks pregnant -- from opening until Indiana's appeal is considered, the South Bend Tribune reported.

Barker granted an injunction on May 31 allowing the Texas-based Whole Woman's Health Alliance to open the clinic without a state-required license, pending a final ruling in a federal lawsuit on the clinic's license that's set for trial before her in August 2020.

Hill's office appealed to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago and sought a stay to prevent the clinic from opening before the appeal is heard.

Barker, who was nominated as a judge by President Ronald Reagan, is also weighing whether to block an Indiana law set to take effect July 1 that would largely ban a second-trimester abortion procedure.

-- Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports

Photo by AP/Orlando Sentinel/JOE BURBANK
Otters forage for fish Monday on Lake Sybelia in Maitland, Fla. Otters are common in the state’s freshwater rivers, lakes and swamps.

A Section on 06/11/2019

Print Headline: 2-16-1 1 dead in NYC rooftop helicopter crash Iraq War vet tapped for Medal of Honor Dallas crane collapse victim identified Judge lets Indiana abortion clinic open

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