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Seattle News Helicopter Crashes near Space Needle; Two Dead

Update @ 1:10 p.m. – KOMO News has identified the two killed in this morning’s helicopter crash as longtime news photographer Bill Strothman and pilot Gary Pfitzner.

A 37-year-old man was also injured in the crash.  The helicopter apparently stuck the man as he was driving in his car. Seattle Fire Department spokesman Kyle Moore said the man had burns to more than 50 percent of his body. His injuries are considered life-threatening.

The news helicopter used in a joint partnership between KOMO 4 and KING 5 News crashed just before 7:45 a.m. Tuesday on Broad Street near the Space Needle. Three vehicles on the ground were also involved in the crash.

Another woman in one of the cars on the ground walked away from the scene and walked to the Seattle Police Department’s West Precinct. Witnesses also spotted a man running from the crash, but he was found later without injuries.

According to Q13Fox witnesses saw the helicopter crash shortly after taking off from Fisher Plaza.
“It spun around like a top,” witness Tyler King told them.

Other witnesses said the helicopter raised from the roof at KOMO 4 News, touched down, and then took off again. The body of the helicopter then spun around and crashed onto Broad Street, according to Q13Fox.

Moore, a spokesman for the Seattle Fire Department, said initial calls came in as a heavy rescue and firefighters were unaware that a helicopter had crashed. But the gravity of the scene quickly dawned upon firefighters when they arrived to the Space Needle.

According to FOX 2 in St. Louis, the KOMO’s usual AIR 4 helicopter was at a Helicopters Incorporated repair shop in the Midwest city.  The chopper that crashed was a back-up for the station.

(CNN/Q13FOX) – A news helicopter crashed Tuesday morning near the Space Needle in Seattle, killing two people and critically injuring another, according to a tweet sent by the Seattle Fire Department.

The crash appeared to be on Broad Street, near the city landmark, police said.

Smoke and fire could be seen coming from the scene.

CNN affiliate KOMO said the helicopter crashed near KOMO’s offices. The helicopter was used by CNN affiliates KOMO and KING, according to KING’s website.

Rich Marriott, a meteorologist for KING, said weather did not appear to have contributed to the crash — visibility was clear and winds were not gusty.

Our sister station Q13Fox has put together a live blog.  Watch it HERE