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March 21, 2014 at 9:20 PM

NTSB issues initial report into Tuesday’s fatal helicopter crash

The National Transportation Safety Board tonight released its preliminary report into the crash of the KOMO news helicopter in Seattle on Tuesday morning.
The report can be found here.

The safety board says a prelimary review of three security-camera recordings show the helicopter began rotating counterclockwise during its takeoff sequence and rose  slightly before it pitched forward in a “nose-low attitude.” None of the videos show the actual crash,  the report says.

The surveillance footage is consistent with reports given by many witnesses, who said they saw the helicopter lift off from the helipad, then pitch forward before falling into an occupied vehicle near the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Broad Street, the report says.

Before the crash, the report says, the helicopter lifted off the helipad and seemed to be level. It then began to rotate and made a full rotation before its nose pitched forward. The helicopter continued to rotate as it fell and dropped out of the view of the cameras, the report says.

The information in the report is preliminary; it may be changed or corrected when the final report is finished.

Killed in the crash were pilot Gary Pfitzner, 59, and longtime photojournalist Bill Strothman, 62. Richard Newman, a 38-year-old clinical-trials project manager at Genelex, was critically injured when the helicopter came down on his car. He had the first of what are expected to be multiple surgeries Friday, said Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman Susan Gregg. Newman remains in serious condition in the intensive-care unit.

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