Two people were killed Tuesday when the KOMO news helicopter crashed in downtown Seattle. KOMO said 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.
The chopper went down on Broad Street near the Space Needle and hit three vehicles, starting them on fire and spewing burning fuel down the street. A 38-year-old man in one of the vehicles was taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition.
Over the past several decades there have been several accidents involving news aircraft in Washington state.
There were only minor injuries in a 1999 accident in which the KIRO 7 helicopter collided in mid-air with another helicopter over Lake Union.
In 1985 in Spokane, the pilot and a KREM TV photographer died when the rotor blade of the helicopter struck a television tower guy wire. They were on their way to cover the annual Bloomsday race. KREM TV is KING’s sister station.
In May, 1980, while covering Memorial Day traffic, KIRO's helicopter and KOMO's Cessna airplane collided in mid-air over Bainbridge Island. Both aircraft were damaged, but both aircraft were able to make emergency landings on a golf course. No one was hurt.