News helicopter crashes near Space Needle in Seattle killing at least two people

The helicopter was apparently coming in for a landing on the rooftop of the station when it possibly hit the side of the building

At least two people have been killed after a news helicopter crashed near the base of the Space Needle in Seattle.

The helicopter, which was attached to the  KOMO-TV channel, was apparently lifting off from the rooftop of the station when it possibly hit the side of the building and went down.

It hit several vehicles on Broad Street before it and a number of cars exploded in flames.

People in the area reported seeing a huge cloud of smoke as firefighters and police responded.

Authorities confirmed that two people were killed at the scene of the crash.

In addition to the fatalities, a 37-year-old man who managed to free himself from a car at the accident scene was taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition the  Seattle Fire Department said.

 

Video courtesy of Alex McBurney

A spokeswoman for Harborview Medical Centre, Susan Gregg, said the facility had received no other victims from the crash.

Only the tail of the helicopter could be identified among the burned metal on the street next to the Seattle Centre. Also among the wreckage were three burned-out cars.

An hour after the crash, firefighters had put out the fire and were cleaning up spilled fuel, which left a strong smell in the area.

In addition to being near the city's iconic Space Needle, the crash site is by the EMP Museum, the music and culture museum founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

The Seattle Centre is popular with tourists and locals, and is the site of many music and cultural festivals and sporting activities.

Other cities have experienced helicopter crashes as TV stations rush to cover the news from above major cities.

Two news helicopters collided in midair in Phoenix in 2007 as the aircraft covered a police chase, sending fiery wreckage plummeting onto a park. Four people in the helicopters were killed.

The crash prompted changes at the stations in how they operated their helicopter crews.

No other details were immediately available. The accident happened near the iconic 600ft Space Needle building,  an observation tower built for the 1962 World's fair.

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