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2 dead in helicopter crash near Seattle Space Needle

Two people were killed when a KOMO news helicopter crashed near Seattle Center, March 18, 2014.
Two people were killed when a KOMO news helicopter crashed near Seattle Center, March 18, 2014.Photo by: KING News

A news helicopter crashed near the Seattle Space Needle killing two people passengers reported King 5 News on March 18, 2014.

The pilot, Gary Pfitzner, and photographer, Bill Strothman, were killed. Strothman worked for KOMO from 1979-2008 as a photographer and was a freelance photographer for Helicopters, Inc.

The KOMO news helicopter struck three cars near at the Seattle Center around 7:40 a.m. near the KOMO headquarters as it was attempting to take off from the helipad.

Richard Newman, 38, was injured when the news helicopter landed on his car. Newman suffered second- and third-degree burns and was transported by ambulance.

Bo Bain said the helicopter seemed to have trouble before takeoff.

“When he went to take back off, the sound of the helicopter changed kind of drastically and I looked and the helicopter was almost immediately pitched sideways and off balance and he kind of nose-dove over the trees and clipped the top of the trees and crashed on the other side of the street,” said Bain.

“Not only were the cars on fire, the fuel running down the street was on fire," said fire department spokesman Kyle Moore.

In a statement issued by the National Traffic Safety Bureau, Deputy Regional Chief Dennis Hogenson stated investigators would look into the incident and try to determine what factors led to the crash.

The Space Needle, Experience Music Project, and Monorail were closed for the day.