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Gary Pfitzner and Bill Strothman Dead: Victims Identified in Seattle Helicopter Crash (Video)

( [email protected] ) Mar 18, 2014 03:09 PM EDT
A Seattle TV news helicopter crashed in downtown Seattle near the Space Needle, killing two people on board. The fiery wreck happened Tuesday morning as the KOMO-TV helicopter took off from the station.
Bill Strothman (Credit: KOMO News)

A Seattle TV news helicopter crashed in downtown Seattle near the Space Needle, killing two people on board. The fiery wreck happened Tuesday morning as the KOMO-TV helicopter took off from the station. The chopper went down on Broad Street and hit three vehicles which were erupted in flames.

(Click Here for Photos of the crash site)

The victims were identified as photographer Bill Strothman and pilot Gary Pfitzner. According to Strothman's facebook page, he was the owner of Glass Mountain Video Productions and a former KOMO photographer. Strothman won 13 Emmy Awards over his career, many people mourned his death after he was identified.

Seattle firefighters said they found Pfitzner and Strothman dead when they arrived at the scene. In addition, a 38-year-old driver in a car that the helicopter crashed into was critically injured. He was rushed to Harborview Medical Center and listed in critical condition with burns on up to 20 percent of his body.

The helicopter was a Eurocopter AS350, FAA spokesman Allen Kinetzer said. It was departing from the downtown helipad when it crashed and burned under unknown circumstances, he said.

Helicopters Inc., which owns the helicopter involved and also owns the helicopter used by KPTV, said the helicopter may have struck a crane shortly after takeoff, but investigators have not confirmed that information.