At least two people are dead after a Seattle news helicopter plummeted from the sky Tuesday morning and crashed into two cars, exploding in a massive fireball just feet from the city’s distinctive Space needle, the city’s fire department said.
Both people aboard the helicopter were killed and another in a vehicle on the ground was critically injured.
The injured man, 37, extricated himself from one of three vehicles that caught fire and was taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition with burns over 50% of his body, said Fire Department spokesman, Kyle Moore.
Moore said that he didn’t know what led to the crash, but that it did not appear that any buildings were struck by the leased helicopter, which was destroyed. “What we have left is basically just a part of the tail and burnt-out metal from the main chassis of the helicopter,” he said.
Flames and black smoke poured from the wreckage, and spilled fuel from the helicopter caught fire and burned for a block from the accident scene, KOMO-TV said. Fire crews extinguished the fire after about a half hour.
CNN affiliate KOMO said the helicopter crashed near its offices. It was used by CNN affiliates KOMO and KING, according to KING’s website. Rich Marriott, a meteorologist for KING, said weather did not appear to have contributed to the crash- visibility was clear and winds were calm, he said.
“It looked like the helicopter was trying to take off and it was just trying to stabilize. It just took a nose dive right down there on the street,” a witness told KOMO-TV.
The names of the victims have not been released.
Representatives of the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were expected to help investigate the crash.
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