Seattle station ID’s 2 killed in helicopter crash

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Updated: Tuesday, March 18 2014, 08:54 PM CDT
MANUEL VALDES
Associated Press
   
SEATTLE (AP) – A Seattle TV station has identified the two people killed in a news helicopter crash near the Space Needle.
   
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 percent of his body and likely will require surgery.
   
KOMO said on the air that the pilot of the helicopter was Gary Pfitzner. The other man killed was Bill Strothman, a former longtime KOMO photographer who was working for the helicopter leasing company.

Witnesses: Unusual noises before chopper crash

SEATTLE (AP) – 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.

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Seattle station ID’s 2 killed in helicopter crash