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2 killed as TV-news helicopter crashes on cars near Seattle Space Needle

Published time: March 18, 2014 15:35
Edited time: March 18, 2014 22:22

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Two people were killed in Seattle, Washington early Tuesday after a helicopter operated by a local news network crashed near the city’s iconic Space Needle.

The helicopter was apparently not far from the roof of KOMO News when it crashed to the street at around 7:40 a.m. local time, damaging several vehicles and causing three to catch fire.

At a news conference an hour later, a representative for the Seattle Fire Department confirmed that both people onboard the helicopter had been pronounced dead, but that their bodies remained in the wreckage.

A 37-year-old male who managed to escape from one of the automobiles was transported to a nearby hospital in critical condition, the SFD official said, but was suffering from burns on around 50 percent of their body and life-threatening injuries.

The helicopter was used in a joint partnership between KOMO News and King 5, a local NBC affiliate, according to that network’s Twitter account.

Around 90 minutes after the crash, the fire department official who entertained questions from the press said of the chopper, “What we have left, is basically just a part of the tail and burned out metal.”

The Seattle Police Department said their investigation was likely to continue for several hours, and officials from both the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were expected to arrive to conduct a probe of their own.

According to the fire department official, emergency personnel were able to stop the helicopter’s fuel from leaking into the city’s sewer system.