Photos, Videos: Fiery Seattle News Helicopter Crash

Initial reports of chopper striking side of building during rooftop landing

 

 
 
 

MANUEL VALDES and PHUONG LE, Associated Press | | Tuesday, March 18, 2014

GALLERIES

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Seattle News Chopper Crash

Helicopter crashes during rooftop landing.
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VIDEOS

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Helicopter Crashes near Seattle’s Space Needle

PIO provides initial information on news chopper crash
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Early Video, Seattle Helicopter Crash

Two people are dead in fiery crash near Space Needle.
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SEATTLE (AP) — A news helicopter crashed into a street near Seattle's iconic Space Needle on Tuesday, exploding and killing two people, critically injuring a person in a car on the ground and sending plumes of black smoke over the city during morning rush hour.

The injured man freed himself from a car at the accident scene and was taken to a hospital with burns, the Seattle Fire Department said.

The KOMO-TV helicopter apparently was lifting off from its rooftop when it possibly hit the side of the building and went down, hitting three vehicles on the street, the station said.

Kristopher Reynolds, a contractor working nearby, said the helicopter lifted about 5 feet (1.5 meters) and looked like it was about to clear the building when it tilted. It looked like it was trying to correct itself and then took a dive downward.

"Next thing I know, it went into a ball of flames," he said.

When firefighters arrived, they found the helicopter and the vehicles on fire, fire department spokesman Kyle Moore said.

"Not only were the cars on fire, the fuel running down the street was on fire," he told reporters. Firefighters stopped the burning fuel from entering the sewer.

The cause of the wreck was not yet known. Mayor Ed Murray said the crash site could be closed for three to five days while officials with the NTSB and Federal Aviation Administration probe what happened.

The two who were killed were the only people on board the helicopter.

KOMO identified the pilot as Gary Pfitzner. The other man killed was Bill Strothman, a former longtime KOMO photographer who was working for the helicopter leasing company.

"We mourn the loss of a couple of our co-workers today," KOMO-TV anchor Dan Lewis said on the air. "It's so difficult for us to look at this scene, of the wreckage down there."

The man who freed himself from a car suffered burns on his lower back and arm, covering up to 20 percent of his body, hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg said. He was in critical condition in intensive care and likely will require surgery, she said.

Two others who were in cars that were struck by the helicopter were uninjured.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Helicopter Crashes near Seattle’s Space Needle



Early Video, Seattle Helicopter Crash

Seattle News Chopper Crash

Gallery 1

Seattle News Chopper Crash

In this image made from video provided by KOMO-TV, smoke rises from the scene of a news helicopter crash outside the KOMO-TV studios near the space needle in Seattle, Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in Seattle. The station says the copter was apparently coming in for a landing on its rooftop Tuesday morning when it possibly hit the side of the building and went down, hitting several vehicles. (AP Photo/Courtesy KOMO-TV)


Gallery 1

Seattle News Chopper Crash

In this image made from video provided by KOMO-TV, smoke rises from the scene of a news helicopter crash outside the KOMO-TV studios near the space needle in Seattle, Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in Seattle. The station says the copter was apparently coming in for a landing on its rooftop Tuesday morning when it possibly hit the side of the building and went down, hitting several vehicles. (AP Photo/Courtesy KOMO-TV)


Gallery 1

Seattle News Chopper Crash

In this image made from video provided by KOMO-TV, smoke rises from the scene of a news helicopter crash outside the KOMO-TV studios near the space needle in Seattle, Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in Seattle. The station says the copter was apparently coming in for a landing on its rooftop Tuesday morning when it possibly hit the side of the building and went down, hitting several vehicles. (AP Photo/Courtesy KOMO-TV)


Gallery 1

Seattle News Chopper Crash

In this image made from video provided by KOMO-TV, emergency crews respond to the scene of a news helicopter crash outside the KOMO-TV studios near the space needle in Seattle, Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in Seattle. The station says the copter was apparently coming in for a landing on its rooftop Tuesday morning when it possibly hit the side of the building and went down, hitting several vehicles. (AP Photo/Courtesy KOMO-TV)


Gallery 1

Seattle News Chopper Crash

In this photo provided by KOMO-TV, emergency personnel respond to the scene of a helicopter crash outside the KOMO-TV studios near the space needle in Seattle on Tuesday, March 18, 2014. The station says the helicopter was apparently coming in for a landing on its rooftop Tuesday morning when it possibly hit the side of the building and went down, hitting several vehicles on Broad Street. (AP Photo/KOMO-TV, Kelly Koopmans)


Gallery 1

Seattle News Chopper Crash

In this photo provided by KOMO-TV, emergency personnel respond to the scene of a helicopter crash outside the KOMO-TV studios near the space needle in Seattle on Tuesday, March 18, 2014. The station says the helicopter was apparently coming in for a landing on its rooftop Tuesday morning when it possibly hit the side of the building and went down, hitting several vehicles on Broad Street. (AP Photo/KOMO-TV, Kelly Koopmans)


Gallery 1

Seattle News Chopper Crash

In this photo provided by KIRO- TV, smoke rises at the scene of a helicopter crash outside the KOMO-TV studios near the space needle in Seattle on Tuesday, March 18, 2014. The station says the helicopter was apparently coming in for a landing on its rooftop Tuesday morning when it possibly hit the side of the building and went down, hitting several vehicles on Broad Street. (AP Photo/KIRO-TV)


Gallery 1

Seattle News Chopper Crash

Emergency personnel wheel away one of two bodies from the aftermath of a news helicopter crash Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in Seattle, Wash. A KOMO-TV helicopter crashed into a city street near Seattle's Space Needle, killing two people and critically injuring a person in a car on the ground. (AP Photo/seattlepi.com, Jordan Stead)


Gallery 1

Seattle News Chopper Crash

KOMO-TV news producer Justin Paulsen briefly holds his hand to his face as he works on a story about the crash of one of their helicopters just outside the newsroom earlier Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in Seattle. The news helicopter crashed into the street and exploded into flames near Seattle's Space Needle, killing two people on board, badly injuring a man in a car and sending plumes of black smoke over the city during the morning commute. The chopper was taking off from a helipad at the KOMO-TV station when it went down on Broad Street downtown and hit three vehicles, starting them on fire and spewing burning fuel down the street. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)


Gallery 1

Seattle News Chopper Crash

National Transportation Safety Board investigators, left, and other personnel work the scene where a news helicopter crashed into a street and burst into flames Tuesday, March 18, 2014, near Seattle's Space Needle, killing two people on board, badly injuring a man in a car and sending plumes of black smoke over the city during the morning commute. (AP Photo/seattlepi.com, Jordan Stead)


Gallery 1

Seattle News Chopper Crash

Crews remove twisted and burned rotors from the scene where a news helicopter crashed into a street and burst into flames Tuesday, March 18, 2014, near Seattle's Space Needle, killing two people on board, badly injuring a man in a car and sending plumes of black smoke over the city during the morning commute. (AP Photo/seattlepi.com, Jordan Stead)


Gallery 1

Seattle News Chopper Crash

Crews move twisted and burned rotors from the scene where a news helicopter crashed into a street and burst into flames Tuesday, March 18, 2014, near Seattle's Space Needle, killing two people on board, badly injuring a man in a car and sending plumes of black smoke over the city during the morning commute. (AP Photo/seattlepi.com, Jordan Stead)


Gallery 1

Seattle News Chopper Crash

An investigator looks over the aftermath of a news helicopter crash Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in Seattle, Wash. A KOMO-TV helicopter crashed into a city street near Seattle's Space Needle, killing two people and critically injuring a person in a car on the ground. (AP Photo/seattlepi.com, Jordan Stead)


Gallery 1

Seattle News Chopper Crash

Investigators look through the charred wreckage of a news helicopter and two vehicles after the chopper crashed into a city street near the Space Needle, Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in Seattle. Two people were killed and another was critically injured, according to the Seattle Fire Department. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)


Gallery 1

Seattle News Chopper Crash

Investigators look over the charred wreckage of a news helicopter and two vehicles after the chopper crashed into a city street near the Space Needle, Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in Seattle. Two people were killed and another was critically injured, according to the Seattle Fire Department. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)


Gallery 1

Seattle News Chopper Crash

An investigator looks over the charred wreckage of a news helicopter and two vehicles after the chopper crashed into a city street near the Space Needle, Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in Seattle. Two people were killed and another critically injured. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)


Gallery 1

Seattle News Chopper Crash

Investigators and emergency personnel look over the aftermath of a news helicopter crash Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in Seattle, Wash. A KOMO-TV helicopter crashed into a city street near Seattle's Space Needle, killing two people and critically injuring a person in a car on the ground. (AP Photo/seattlepi.com, Jordan Stead)


Gallery 1

Seattle News Chopper Crash

A police officer looks across at the wreckage of a news helicopter which crashed into a city street near the Space Needle, Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in Seattle. A KOMO-TV helicopter crashed into a city street near Seattle's Space Needle, killing two people and critically injuring a person in a car on the ground. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)


Gallery 1

Seattle News Chopper Crash

A burned out car sits adjacent to a piece of wreckage of a news helicopter Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in Seattle. The KOMO-TV helicopter helicopter crashed into a city street near Seattle's Space Needle on Tuesday, killing two people, critically injuring a person in a car on the ground and sending plumes of black smoke over the city during the morning rush hour.(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)


Gallery 1

Seattle News Chopper Crash

The wreckage of a news helicopter sits on a city street after crashing Tuesday, March 18, 2014, in Seattle. A news helicopter crashed into a city street near Seattle's Space Needle on Tuesday, killing two people, critically injuring a person in a car on the ground and sending plumes of black smoke over the city during the morning rush hour. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)



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