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'PTSD from 9/11': Deadly New York helicopter crash forces building evacuation

Occupants inside 787 Seventh Ave. felt a jolt before they were hurried out of the building.
Image: Onlookers watch the scene after a helicopter crashed on top of a building in Midtown Manhattan on June 10, 2019.
Onlookers watch the scene after a helicopter crashed on top of a building in Midtown Manhattan on June 10, 2019.Johannes Eisele / AFP - Getty Images

New Yorkers with a "level of PTSD" held their collective breath Monday when a helicopter crash-landed on an office building in the middle of Manhattan.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said anyone in the city can't help but think the worst when they hear a booming, crashing noise in the center of New York City.

"If you're a New Yorker, you have a level of PTSD from 9/11," Cuomo told reporters, referring to post-traumatic stress disorder. "And remember that morning all too well. So, as soon as you hear an aircraft hit a building, I think my mind goes where every New Yorker's mind goes."

Morgan Aries, who works at 787 Seventh Ave., a 54-story building, said she could feel the crash while sitting at her desk on the 14th floor.

"Everyone felt their chairs shake a bit and everyone thought it was odd. That sounded like it could be something," he told NBC News on Monday.

The stairwell traffic jam added another level of anxiety to the evacuation.

"I was calm, but as we were exiting, everyone was a little nervous," Aires said. "There were definitely people who were a little anxious because there were a lot of people in the stairwell."

Electra Steward, who works on the third floor of the building, was at the World Trade Center during the 1993 bombing. She evacuated without any panic — because she had no idea that a helicopter had crashed.

Steward admitted, after getting out, that she was better off not knowing what was happening.

"I’m calm because when I came down, I didn’t know what was going on. Had I known it was a helicopter crash at the time, I would have been way more panicked," she said.

"I think most of the people got out because we were evacuated really quickly, so I think everyone is OK."

An employee who works at the Pret a Manger café located on the first floor of 787 Seventh Ave. said that even on the ground floor, he felt the impact of the crash.

“We felt the building shake. It wasn’t like a heavy shake, it was just a tumble. I thought it could be an earthquake,” the worker said. “The firefighters came in like full-force. I thought maybe it was a gas explosion.”

Neighborhood resident Bill Brooks was working from home on his computer when he heard a rush of sirens — but he didn't think much of it.

"Then one of my clients told me that there was a helicopter crash in New York City, so I looked out my window and saw it was pretty extensive," Brooks, who sells radio advertisements, said.

"The sirens were a little more panicky, I hear sirens at all hours. This seemed like something more was happening."