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Helicopter pilot in fatal midtown crash 'well-known and well-respected'

Tim McCormack, who perished in Monday's midtown helicopter

Tim McCormack, who perished in Monday's midtown helicopter crash, served 10 years as the fire chief of the East Clinton Fire Department in upstate New York. Photo Credit: The Official East Clinton Volunteer Fire Department

For the community of Clinton, New York, Tim McCormack was among its most decorated and hardworking residents. His death in Monday’s midtown helicopter crash shocked the upstate village, according to Town Supervisor Ramon Oberly.

“He was well-known and well-respected,” Oberly said. “We’re still trying to reconcile it.”

McCormack, who was born in 1961, was a 25-year veteran of the East Clinton Fire Department — he served the last decade as a fire chief, according to the department’s website. McCormack's expertise, leadership and humor were key components of the firehouse's culture, the department said.

“Tim's technical knowledge and ability to command an emergency were exceptional. Chief McCormack was extremely respected by not only the members of the department, but throughout the Dutchess County fire service,” the fire department said in a statement.

East Clinton’s fire department said he was previously a member of the LaGrange Fire Department in Poughkeepsie. A representative for the LaGrange Fire Department couldn’t provide details about his tenure, other than it was during the 1980s.

FAA records show McCormack obtained a commercial pilot license in September 2004, and was certified for helicopter and single-engine airplanes.

An attorney for American Continental Properties, which owned the helicopter that McCormack piloted, did not return phone calls for comment.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro in a tweet said McCormack was a father and a grandfather, but further details about his family were not disclosed. His brother is Mike McCormack, the Dutchess County Republican chairman, according to the New York State Republican Committee. Mike McCormack could not be immediately reached for comment. 

New York GOP chairman Ed Cox and his successor Nick Langworthy offered the McCormack family their condolences.

"Tim’s life was cut way too short, but it’s clear he lived his last moments just as he did every day, committed to protecting others," they said in a joint statement. 

Oberly said his office has received numerous calls from residents — past and present — inquiring about McCormack’s family.

“As soon as I heard … that it was a helicopter crash, and [it was] an East Clinton chief, I knew that was only one person, Tim McCormack,” he said.

Oberly said the town doesn’t have immediate plans for a memorial to McCormack, but said they lowered their flags to half-mast and will have a moment of silence to honor him during a town meeting Tuesday night.

“The town appreciates his service,” he said. “He was a nice guy, and did his job well.”

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