Seattle News Chopper Actually Touched Down Before Crashing – Update
According to KING-5 News in Seattle, the helicopter that crashed near the Seattle Center this morning actually touched down on a landing pad for a moment before lifting off again.
Bo Bain, a nearby construction worker, said he watched the chopper land on the pad for a moment or two, but when it lifted off again, the sound changed almost immediately. Bain said the helicopter immediately pitched sideways, off balance. The craft then clipped the top of some trees as it climbed sideways, then plunged back to earth crashing on the other side of the street.
It landed on top of three vehicles outside the Seattle Center. Authorities have released the name of the KOMO-TV photographer who died in the crash as Bill Strothman, a long-time employee. The pilot's name has not yet been released.
Witnesses said the burning fuel from the chopper was running down the street, but firefighters were able to keep it from going down nearby storm drains. A victim in one of the cars sustained 3rd degree burns over 15-20% of his body, requiring surgery. He is in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center. A woman from one of the burned cars went to a nearby police station, and the driver of a pickup truck hit by the chopper was later located and was ok.
The investigation continues. The other news chopper used by KIRO News 7 has been grounded pending a full investigation into the crash.