Two people were killed and one was critically injured when the KOMO News helicopter crashed and burned Tuesday morning on Broad Street only yards away from the Space Needle. Emergency personnel immediately rushed to the scene as thick smoke poured over the city
Two cars and a pickup truck on Broad Street were struck in the crash. Occupants of two vehicles were able to escape without injury, but the driver of a third vehicle was badly burned. Photos posted online by KOMO showed bright flames and towering smoke rising from cars at the scene of the crash. Video news footage after the fire had been extinguished showed charred vehicles with their windows blown out and fire retardant foam in the street.
"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."
Witnesses said the man could be seen running from from his car with his clothing on fire, and he was extinguished by officers at the scene. He was then rushed to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition with burns over more than 50 percent of his body.
The helicopter exploded into flames on impact. Huge plumes of black smoke poured from the blazing wreckage, about 50 yards from the base of the Space Needle.
Fuel gushing from the wreckage caught fire and burned for a block from the crash scene. Secondary explosions continued for several minutes afterward.
Seattle Fire Department spokesman Kyle Moore said two people were found dead in the wreckage.
Witnesses said the helicopter crashed as it was taking off from the helipad on the roof of Fisher Plaza, across the street from the Space Needle, at about 7:40 a.m.
(KOMO, Seattle)(Associated Press)