2 Dead in KOMO/KING News Helicopter Crash in Seattle - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

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2 Dead in KOMO/KING News Helicopter Crash in Seattle

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UPDATE/SEATTLE, WA - A federal official says witnesses reported hearing unusual noises from a KOMO-TV news helicopter before it crashed Tuesday, killing two people on board and injuring a third on the ground.
The National Transportation Safety Board's Dennis Hogenson says investigators are examining all possibilities as they look for what caused the crash. He says witnesses also reported seeing the aircraft rotate before it hit the ground.
Hogenson says investigators are working to document the scene and clear the wreckage. A preliminary report is expected in five days, followed by a fuller report with a probable cause in up to a year.
Officials will be looking at mechanical, environmental, pilot and other issues as they investigate the crash.


SEATTLE, WA - A Seattle TV station has identified the two people killed in a news helicopter crash near the Space Needle.

According to KOMO-TV, Gary Pfitzner was the pilot of the helicopter that crashed Tuesday morning on Broad Street.  The other man killed was Bill Strothman, a former longtime KOMO photographer who was working for the helicopter leasing company.

The fiery wreck happened Tuesday morning as the KOMO-TV helicopter took off from the station.  The chopper went down on Broad Street and hit three vehicles, starting them on fire and spewing burning fuel down the street.

The fire department says a 38-year-old man in one of the vehicles was taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition.

Hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg says the man suffered burns on up to 20% of his body and likely will require surgery.


SEATTLE, WA - KING 5 News has identified one of the people dead in Tuesday morning's crash as Bill Strothman, a photographer who worked for several years at KOMO and whose son still works there.  

The name of the pilot has not been released at this time.


SEATTLE, WA - According to the Seattle Fire Department the helicopter crash landed on two cars and a pickup truck near the Space Needle.

The driver of one of the cars has burns on 50% of his body and a driver of the other car is uninjured.  Firefighters don't know where the driver of the pickup truck is or whether the driver was in the truck at the time of the crash.

According to firefighters, the helicopter didn't hit the side of the building when it was attempting to land.


SEATTLE, WA - KING-TV in Seattle has confirmed two people have died and another person is in critical condition after a news helicopter crash near Space Needle.

The station says the copter was apparently lifting off from its rooftop Tuesday morning when it possibly hit the side of the building and went down, hitting several vehicles on Broad Street.

The copter and cars exploded in flames.

Plumes of black smoke rose from the crash scene as rescue vehicles converged on the area.

According to the Seattle Fire Department in addition to the fatalities, a 37-year-old man who managed to free himself from a car at the accident scene was taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition.

Watch live coverage of the crash here.


SEATTLE, WA - Seattle Police say a news helicopter crashed on top of four vehicles outside Seattle Center Tuesday morning and caught fire.

The crash happened in the 400 block of Broad Street next to Fisher Plaza, which is home to KOMO-TV, very close to the Space Needle.

KING 5 reports that people at KOMO have confirmed it is their helicopter. The helicopter was being used in a joint partnership between KOMO and KING 5.

No official word yet about any injuries.