Safety board wrapping up investigation into Seattle helicopter crash

It's been almost one year since a news helicopter crashed in the shadow of the Space Needle, killing a photographer and the pilot. KING 5 has learned NTSB's report is now complete and is in its final review.

SEATTLE- The National Transportation Safety Board has told KING 5 News the investigation into the crash of an media helicopter one year ago on March 18 is now complete and in final review.

Dennis Hogenson, with the NTSB's Western Pacific Region headquarters in Federal Way, said the final review is being handled in cooperation with European safety authorities, as the helicopter is of a French design.

It was on March 18, 2014, when the Airbus Helicopters model AS 350 B2 lifted off the roof of KOMO's building, spun counterclockwise, and nosed toward the ground into morning traffic. Killed were the part time pilot Gary Pfitzner, who was also a long term Boeing employee, and longtime KOMO photographer Bill Strothman, who was back working at the station on a contract basis.

The helicopter was owned by Helicopters Incorporated of Cahokia, Illinois, the nation's largest provider of news helicopters. KING-TV currently uses a helicopter and crew provided by Helicopters Incorporated.

The crash killed both on board and seriously burned Richard Newman, who was driving on Broad Street between KOMO and the Seattle Center. The accident was captured on multiple security cameras in the area.


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