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News helicopter crashes in downtown Seattle, at least two dead

Source: Reuters - Tue, 18 Mar 2014 16:06 GMT
Author: Reuters
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(Adds helicopter may have fallen from helipad, comments from eyewitnesses)

SEATTLE, March 18 (Reuters) - At least two people were killed when a news helicopter crashed in downtown Seattle on Tuesday, setting cars on fire in a popular tourist area near the Space Needle, authorities and local media reported.

Two people were found dead when emergency responders arrived at the scene, the Seattle Fire Department said on its Twitter page.

Local television station KOMO, an ABC affiliate, said the fallen aircraft was one of its news helicopters.

"KOMO chopper crash appears to have taken lives of our colleagues on board," Keith Eldridge, a reporter and anchor with the station, said on his Twitter page.

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.

A 37-year-old man who crawled out of one car was transported in critical condition to a local hospital, the Seattle Police Department said on its Twitter page. Three cars were set on fire, police said.

The crash occurred on Broad Street, not far from Seattle's famed Space Needle, KOMO reported on its website.

The Space Needle is in a popular tourist area that also hosts a children's museum and the Pacific Science Center.

Representatives from the Seattle police and fire departments could not immediately be reached for further comment.

Witness Chris McColgan, 26, told the Seattle Times the helicopter appeared to have fallen from the helipad at the top of the KOMO building, the paper reported on its website.

"The engine made a pretty deep noise ... and about two seconds after that I heard the boom," witness Daniel Gonzalez told KOMO. (Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky in Olympia, Wash.; Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Scott Malone, James Dalgleish and Bernadette Baum)

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