Two dead after Seattle helicopter crash
Aircraft owned by news station fell to ground when landing near Space Needle in US city
Two people have died in the US after a news helicopter crashed outside its station near the Space Needle in Seattle.
The incident, involving a KOMO-TV aircraft, sent clouds of black smoke over the city during the morning rush hour.
The Seattle Fire Department said in addition to the fatalities a man who managed to free himself from a car at the scene was taken to hospital. The 37-year-old was taken to Harborview Medical Centre in a critical condition, it said.
A spokeswoman for Harborview Medical Centre said the facility had received no other victims from the crash.
The TV station said the helicopter was apparently lifting off from its rooftop when it possibly hit the side of the building and went down, hitting several vehicles on Broad Street.
The aircraft and three cars exploded in flames. Only the tail of the helicopter could be identified among the burned metal on the street next to the Seattle Centre.
Kristopher Reynolds, a contractor working nearby, saw the crash. He said the helicopter looked like it was about to clear the building when it tilted. It looked like it was trying to correct itself and then took a dive downward, he said.
“Next thing I know, it went into a ball of flames,” he said.
When firefighters arrived, they found the helicopter, two cars and a pickup truck ablaze, fire department spokesman Kyle Moore said. “Not only were the cars on fire, the fuel running down the street was on fire,” he said.
Firefighters stopped the burning fuel from entering sewers.
The two bodies remained in the helicopter wreckage until investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board arrived, Mr Moore said.
A woman from one of the burned cars went to a police station and spoke to officers. The man travelling in a pickup truck hit by the wreckage walked away but fire investigators want to talk to him, Mr Moore said.