Photo via CNN.com
The NYPD has confirmed that a small aircraft crashed into the upper stories of the Belaire, an apartment buiding at 524 East 72nd Street.
Further details are sketchy and seem to be differing from one source to another.
According to a police department spokesperson contacted by The Observer:
“We’re not confirming anything. We have people out there, it’s being investigated, we don’t know how many injuries, we don’t know anything right now. We don’t know whether it was a helicopter or an airplane.”
One neighbor is describing evacuations of nearby buildings to The Observer, and Gothamist is reporting at least one casualty and people trapped in the upper stories of the building.
The AP is describing “a raging fire that sent a pillar of black smoke over the city.”
It was not immediately known whether it was terrorism.
Flames could be seen shooting from windows on two upper floors of The Belaire, a 50-story tower on East 72nd Street, close to the East River. Burning debris fell on the streets below as firefighters shot water streams of water at the flames from lower floors.
Fire Department spokeswoman Emily Rahimi said the aircraft struck struck the 20th floor.