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Two Dead, One Seriously Injured In Helicopter Crash Near Seattle Space Needle

Submitted by on March 18, 2014 – 3:04 pmNo Comment

Two people are dead and another is critically injured after a news helicopter crashed in a busy section of Seattle this morning. Eyewitnesses say the chopper was attempting to take off from a rooftop helipad at around 7:40am when it faltered and dropped to the ground.

A spokesman for the Seattle Fire Department said the two passengers in the helicopter were dead on arrival, and were left in the charred remains of the vehicle until inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board arrive. The victims have been identified as Bill Strothman, 62, a longtime news photographer for local station KOMO; and Gary Pfitzner, 59, the helicopter pilot. The vehicle was privately owned, but was being employed by KOMO and was taking off from the station’s building.

A red sedan and silver pickup truck were ignited when the helicopter landed in between them. The sedan driver exited his car, reportedly in flames, sustaining burns over 50% of his body. The SFD spokesperson stated the man had been taken to Harborview Medical Center, and that his injuries were life-threatening.

A man in the pickup was seen exiting his vehicle and walking off; a woman in a nearby vehicle walked to a nearby police station and has been accounted for.

YouTube user Alex McBurney captured footage of the flaming wreckage just moments after the crash:

A Seattle police spokesperson said the FAA and NTSB will lead the investigation. Weather conditions at the time were clear with low wind.

The crash took place in one of Seattle’s busiest neighborhoods, just blocks from its famous Space Needle. Due to the hour, traffic and crowds were low at the time.

[Image via Twitter @meelataruc]

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