The Seattle Fire Department has reported that early this morning (March 18), a news helicopter that was used jointly by two Seattle television stations crashed not far from the Space Needle, killing both people inside the helicopter and critically injuring someone who was inside a vehicle on the ground that caught fire. The injured man was able to extricate himself from one burning vehicle and was transported to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition with burns over 50% of his body.
In all, three vehicles burned in the accident. A woman who was inside her car at the time of the crash was uninjured, while a man who was inside a pickup truck left the scene and was being sought by authorities, just to make sure he’s healthy.
The crash occurred on Broad Street, at the KOMO Fisher Plaza complex, which is located right next to Seattle Center, which is home to the Space Needle. Officials aren’t sure what caused the leased helicopter to crash, but they note that it didn’t appear that any buildings were struck by it. According to witnesses, the helicopter seemed to have trouble stabilizing as it was taking off from the Fisher Plaza helipad., and it suddenly took a nose dive onto the street below, where it started leaking fuel immediately, and caught three vehicles on fire.
As of now, all that remains of the helicopter is part of the tail and the burnt-out metal hull from the main chassis. Firefighters who arrived on the scene were faced with thick black smoke covering the area, and lines of fuel that were on fire in the street. They also described “wreckage strewn across the lawn along with wreckage across the street.”
While the helicopter was leased by television stations KING and KOMO, the helicopter is managed by Helicopters Inc, which is also known as Heli Inc., which specializes in the design, manufacturing and leasing of news helicopters for a number of broadcasting stations nationwide.
Officials with both the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) were expected to arrive later in the day to investigate the crash. Both agencies will conduct a thorough investigation of the crash, and determine whether or not it was due to pilot error, a manufacturing defect, a mechanical problem, poor maintenance, or a combination of factors. All helicopters are required to establish and maintain strict federal standards for operation and maintenance.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed due to a helicopter accident, please contact a Texas Aviation Accident Lawyer at Hill Law Firm quickly, so that a thorough investigation can be conducted and evidence can be properly preserved, in order to protect your rights.