It is a sad day in Seattle.
At about 7:40 a.m. local time, a news helicopter crashed near the iconic Space Needle, killing two on board and critically injuring at least one man on the ground.
Eyewitnesses said the chopper crashed moments after take-off, engulfing the wreckage and vehicles on the ground in flames. The critically injured survivor of the crash was able to crawl from his car and was taken to Harborview Medical Center, the Seattle PI reported.
Seattle attorney Doug Weinmaster, with the Perey Law Group, said thick plumes of smoke were visible from the firm’s nearby office. Weinmaster is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is a Federal Aviation Administration-licensed pilot.
“We understand that the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are on the ground starting an investigation into the cause of this crash,” Weinmaster said. “We have had several clients treated at Harborview (burn center). It is one of the best burn centers in the world – and everyone in Seattle is taking a moment of pause for prayers and positive thoughts for the victims.”
The chopper, which the FAA identified as a Eurocopter AS350, is operated by KOMO TV and also used by KING TV, CNN reported. It is owned by a helicopter company that employed the pilot, KOMO reported. The station identified the men who were killed as pilot Gary Pfitzner and photographer Bill Strothman.
The 38-year-old man injured on the ground was identified as Richard Newman. The PI reported later Tuesday that his condition had been upgraded from “critical” to “serious.”