A KOMO News helicopter crashed into two cars and a pickup truck in a fiery fatal accident on Tuesday morning, March 18th, at about 8:40 a.m. Witness reported seeing the helicopter take off from its landing pad across the street on the roof of Fisher Plaza, where KOMO News is located, when it suddenly crashed.
The accident occurred on Broad Street in Seattle, only a short distance from the Space Needle. The helicopter burst into flames upon impact killing the two occupants onboard and causing severe burns to the driver of a vehicle that was struck.
Occupants in the two other vehicles involved were able to escape and did not require immediate medical attention. Emergency personnel responded promptly to the scene. The accident sent a thick plume of smoke billowing over the city at the height of the morning commute. The crash site is expected be closed off for at least a day and possibly up to five days for investigation. For more details on the story, click here.
The Crash Investigation
As an aviation accident, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration are both investigating the crash. The chopper involved is a Eurocopter AS350 manufactured in 2003.
Media reports indicate the helicopter was a temporary replacement, not the regular KOMO helicopter. Witnesses reported an unusual noise coming from the helicopter on departure.
News Helicopter Landing Pads in Densely Populated Urban Areas?
In response to the crash, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said that the city will reviews its policies about permitting helicopter pads. In 1990, the city of Seattle changed its helipad rules, limiting where helicopters could take off and land prohibiting private usage and only allowing use for public service, emergency medical care, and for news agencies.
The safety of news helicopters has been increasingly in question following the midair collision of two news helicopters in Phoenix in 2007, resulting in four deaths.
The crash will be thoroughly investigated to determine its cause. The condition of the aircraft and maintenance records will be of import in the evaluation.
The families of those who tragically died and those that were injured in this crash may have the grounds to make civil claims for negligence. While the tragedy that occurred can never be undone, injury claims can allow grieving families and crash victims the ability to receive financial compensation for their current and future economic losses and general damages resulting from this horrific accident.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a catastrophic accident, it’s important to have professional, experienced representation on your side fighting for your financial rights. It’s in the powerful insurance companies’ financial interest to pay as little as possible for injury and wrongful death claims.