SEATTLE — At least two people died and one was injured when a news helicopter crashed Tuesday morning at Fisher Plaza near the city’s famed Space Needle.
KOMO-TV confirmed that its helicopter had crashed on takeoff, hit at least two vehicles and burned outside its station. Two people were pronounced dead at the scene.
A 37-year-old man managed to free himself from one of the cars and was taken to Harborview Medical Center. His condition was not immediately available, officials said.
“The helicopter had some kind of problem taking off,” said Taylor Van Cise, an anchor for KOMO-FM radio, directly across the street from the crash site. “There is the smell of jet fuel. There are fire trucks, police cars and motorcycles all over.”
“We can see where the helicopter went down,” he said by telephone. “We can see the tail of the helicopter in an SUV. It’s a pretty dramatic scene.”
The crash site was cordoned off with yellow police tape. Police cars and fire engines blocked surrounding streets during the morning rush hour. Tearful KOMO radio reporters described the scene.
“I headed to the window and saw a huge fireball,” said one woman. “I saw someone emerge from a vehicle clearly on fire …. this is incredibly surreal, right outside our own building.”
Plumes of black smoke rose from the crash scene as rescue vehicles converged on the area.