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2 killed after news helicopter crashes near Seattle’s Space Needle

A Seattle news helicopter crashed near the city’s Space Needle this morning.

According to the Seattle Fire Department, two were killed in the crash and one person is in critical condition. The two killed were aboard the aircraft, according to a Seattle Fire Department spokesman.

KOMO News identified the victims as KOMO News photographer Bill Strothman and pilot Gary Pfitzner.

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According to The Seattle Times:

The helicopter, which apparently slid off the Fisher Plaza building, hit at least three cars when it hit the ground, according to the Seattle Fire Department. One person in one of the cars, a 37-year-old man, was taken in critical condition to the hospital, according to the fire department.

According to a tweet by WBZ managing editor Peter Wilson, the helicopter that crashed was previously used in Boston:

The driver of a pickup truck that caught fire in the incident was found uninjured, according to the Seattle Fire Department. The man injured in the incident managed to pull himself from his car, the Associated Press reports. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center with burns on more than half of his body.

According to KOMO News:

Two cars were struck in the crash. 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. It was not immediately clear what happened to the helicopter's crew.

The helicopter had just taken off from the KOMO-TV launch pad when it crashed into three vehicles at about 7:40 a.m., Pacific time, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. According to Seattle’s KING 5 News, the helicopter was used jointly by KING 5 and KOMO.

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