SEATTLE - A news helicopter crashed on top of a number of vehicles outside Seattle Center Tuesday morning and caught fire, resulting in at least two deaths.
One of the victims has been identified as aerial camera operator Bill Strothman. The other fatality is the helicopter pilot, who has not yet been identified.
The crash happened in the 400 block of Broad Street next to Fisher Plaza, which is home to KOMO-TV.
KOMO says the copter was taking off from its rooftop Tuesday morning when it possibly hit the side of the building and went down, hitting two vehicles on Broad Street. One man could be seen running from from one of the cars with his sleeve on fire, and he was extinguished by officers at the scene.
Huge flames and plumes of black smoke poured from the burning wreckage. Fuel gushing from the wreckage caught fire and burned for a block from the crash scene.
Seattle firefighters confirm that two people are dead, and a 37-year-old male has been taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition, with burns reported over 40 to 50 percent of his body. That man was in one of the cars, but managed to pull himself out.
The helicopter was being used in a joint partnership between KOMO and KING 5, which is a sister station of KARE 11.
Stephen Lieber, President of Helicopter, Inc. released a statement on Tuesday.
"On behalf of the Helicopters Inc. family, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the families of those lost and injured in Seattle today. We mourn their loss and suffering and our thoughts and prayers are with them. We will cooperate fully and completely with the National Transportation Safety Board and provide to it whatever information it wants in order to assist it in its work in determining what happened. So that we do not interfere with its work, we will not have any further comment except to say that we are saddened and deeply affected by this tragedy."