KOMO-TV/Seattle Chopper Crashes
March 18, 2014 at 12:18 PM (PT)
A news helicopter operated for SINCLAIR ABC affiliate KOMO-TV/SEATTLE crashed TUESDAY morning (3/18) near the FISHER PLAZA studios of the station and sister News KOMO-A-F, killing both passengers and injuring one person on the ground. The "AIR 4" chopper appeared to experience difficulty immediately upon takeoff and crashed to the ground in front of the KOMO newsroom windows and close to the SPACE NEEDLE, the wreckage splitting and bursting into flames.
Videographer BILL STROTHMAN, who worked for KOMO for many years and more recently was a contract employee for the helicopter leasing company, and pilot GARY PFITZNER were killed in the crash. The victim on the ground is a 38-year-old man who was in his car at the time; he was taken to HARBORVIEW MEDICAL CENTER, where he is in critical condition with extensive burns. Another driver in a pickup truck managed to back away from the fire and escaped uninjured.
KOMO radio went into full commercial-free coverage of the incident shortly after the crash at 7:40a (PT), with PD PAUL DUCKWORTH joining the radio news staff in covering the story.
Reporter CHARLIE HARGER said on the air that as he drove a vehicle with the KOMO logo to the station this morning, construction workers paused and placed their hands over their hearts as the van passed.