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NEW INFORMATION: Witnesses report hearing unusual noises before chopper crash

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

SEATTLE (AP) -- A federal official says witnesses reported hearing unusual noises from a KOMO-TV news helicopter before it crashed Tuesday, killing two people on board and injuring a third on the ground.

The National Transportation Safety Board's Dennis Hogenson says investigators are examining all possibilities as they look for what caused the crash. He says witnesses also reported seeing the aircraft rotate before it hit the ground.

Hogenson says investigators are working to document the scene and clear the wreckage. A preliminary report is expected in five days, followed by a fuller report with a probable cause in up to a year.

Officials will be looking at mechanical, environmental, pilot and other issues as they investigate the crash.
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SEATTLE (AP) -- A Seattle TV station has identified the two people killed in a news helicopter crash near the Space Needle.

The fiery wreck happened Tuesday morning as the KOMO-TV helicopter took off from the station. The chopper went down on Broad Street and hit three vehicles, starting them on fire and spewing burning fuel down the street.

The fire department says a 38-year-old man in one of the vehicles was taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition.

Hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg says the man suffered burns on up to 20 percent of his body and likely will require surgery.

KOMO said on the air that 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.
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SEATTLE (AP) --The Seattle Fire Department says the two people killed when a KOMO-TV news helicopter crashed Tuesday morning outside its station near the Space Needle were inside the chopper.

Seattle Fire Department spokesman Kyle Moore says in addition to the fatalities, a 37-year-old man who managed to free himself from a car at the accident scene was taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition.

The station says the helicopter apparently was lifting off from its rooftop when it possibly hit the side of the building and went down, hitting several vehicles on Broad Street.

Moore says the crash will be investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.


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