NEW YORK — Brandon Coyle was in the middle of another normal Monday at work at his Midtown Manhattan office when he heard something unusual.

The attorney and 2010 North Dakota State University graduate knew that the area around his high-rise office building was restricted airspace, but he could hear the sound of a helicopter approaching.

Then, more noise as the chopper crashed onto the roof of the 51-story AXA Equitable Center in what police and fire officials told ABC News was a hard landing.

"When the helicopter hit the roof, it was getting louder, there was a shake, the whole building just kind of bumped up and I could feel the building swaying," recalled Coyle, who works on the 43rd floor of the building.

The crash killed the pilot and started a fire on the building's roof, filling the city with smoke. No one else was harmed.

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Shortly after the impact, Coyle said a fire official jumped on the intercom and ordered an evacuation.

While the evacuation was orderly, Coyle said he could tell longtime New Yorkers who had lived through the 9/11 attacks were nervous.

"Your mind just goes to those places," he said.

Coyle, who assured friends and family at home in North Dakota that he was safe, will likely return to work Wednesday when it is hoped the building will re-open.