SEATTLE, 18 March 2014. Two people are dead and one is critically injured after a leased KOMO news helicopter crashed, striking three automobiles, just yards from the famous Space Needle in busy Seattle Center during the morning commute.
The helicopter was taking off from a helipad on the roof of Fisher Plaza, according to witnesses, when the operator was unable to stabilize the rotorcraft and it crashed nose-first into the street. One eyewitness said the helicopter appeared to have gotten tangled in some cables before it dropped to the street and “blew up instantly.” Only the tail of the helicopter was said to be recognizable.
Contractor Kristopher Reynolds was working close by videotaped the aftermath with his smartphone. He described seeing the helicopter lift roughly five feet off the helipad, tilt, and as the operator tried to right the aircraft, it dove downward, crashed, and erupted into a ball of flames.
Occupants of two vehicles escaped without injury as fuel from the wreckage spilled out onto the roadway and caught fire. A man in the third vehicle ran from his car with his clothing on fire; he is in critical condition with burns over more than half of his body, according to reports.
Two people were found dead in the helicopterwreckage, where they remained until officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) arrived on the scene.
All photos courtesy KOMO News.