KOMO-TV Helicopter Crashes Near Seattle Space Needle, Two Killed

News Chopper Crash

In this photo provided by KOMO-TV, emergency personnel respond to the scene of a helicopter crash outside the KOMO-TV studios near the space needle in Seattle on Tuesday, March 18, 2014. The station says the helicopter was apparently coming in for a landing on its rooftop Tuesday morning when it possibly hit the side of the building and went down, hitting several vehicles on Broad Street. (AP Photo/KOMO-TV, Kelly Koopmans)

A news helicopter crashed into a city street in Seattle on Tuesday, killing two people, critically injuring a person in a car on the ground and sending plumes of black smoke over the city during the morning rush hour.

An injured man managed to free himself from a car and was taken to Harborview Medical Center, Moore said. Richard Newman, 38, suffered burns on his lower back and arm, covering up to 20 percent of his body, hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg said. He was in serious condition in the intensive care unit and likely would require surgery, she said.  

Two others who were in cars that were struck by the helicopter were uninjured. One of them, a woman, went to a police station and talked to officers, while a man from the pickup walked to a nearby McDonald’s restaurant. Police later located him unhurt.

The KOMO-TV helicopter was apparently lifting off from its rooftop when it possibly hit the side of the building and went down, hitting three vehicles, the station said.

KOMO Photojournalist Bill Strothman and pilot Gary Pfitzner were killed.  The station has tributes to both journalists on its Facebook page.   Both men were working for the leasing company that operates the news helicopter, the station said.

The helicopter and vehicles exploded in flames, sending burning fuel into the street. Only the tail of the helicopter could be identified among the burned metal at the scene.

The crash site was in an area popular with tourists and locals, near the Space Needle landmark, and the EMP Museum, the music and culture museum created by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

News Chopper Crash

In this photo provided by KOMO-TV, emergency personnel respond to the scene of a helicopter crash outside the KOMO-TV studios near the space needle in Seattle on Tuesday, March 18, 2014. The station says the helicopter was apparently coming in for a landing on its rooftop Tuesday morning when it possibly hit the side of the building and went down, hitting several vehicles on Broad Street. (AP Photo/KOMO-TV, Kelly Koopmans)

News Chopper Crash

In this photo provided by KOMO-TV, emergency personnel respond to the scene of a helicopter crash outside the KOMO-TV studios near the space needle in Seattle on Tuesday, March 18, 2014. The station says the helicopter was apparently coming in for a landing on its rooftop Tuesday morning when it possibly hit the side of the building and went down, hitting several vehicles on Broad Street. (AP Photo/KOMO-TV, Kelly Koopmans)

This report compiled with information from the Associated Press and NBC.