2 killed in news helicopter crash in Seattle

SEATTLE-- 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.

The helicopter was being used in a joint partnership between KOMO and KING 5. KING 5 is owned by 11Alive parent company, Gannett. No KING employee was on the chopper at the time of the crash.

The Seattle Fire Department tweeted that a 38-year-old male has been taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition.That man was in one of the cars, but managed to pull himself out. KOLO-TV identified Bill Strothman as the camera operator on board the chopper and Gary Phitzner as the pilot.

The helicopter was being used in a joint operating agreement between KING 5 News and KOMO. The helicopter is managed by Helicopters Inc, also known as Heli Inc. The company specializes in the design, construction and leasing of news helicopters for television and radio stations nationwide.

Gannett Co. and KING expressed sympathies to the victims of the crash.

"Words cannot express the sympathy and sadness we feel for the victims who lost their lives in today's tragedy and for their families," said Ray Heacox, president and general manager, KING. "We grieve this afternoon with the entire Seattle community and our thoughts are with all those affected."

READ| Social media filled with eyewitness accounts and condolences


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