Tuesday’s fatal crash of a KOMO-TV helicopter in Seattle isn’t the first time a news aircraft has crashed in Washington state. Here are some recent accidents:
In November 1999, a KIRO-TV helicopter collided with a second chopper about 1,000 feet above Lake Union. Both aircraft landed safely, and no one was seriously injured.
“The impact happened almost simultaneously,” Clark Stahl, who was flying the KIRO helicopter, told The Seattle Times after the accident. “I saw the helicopter, I felt the impact. Then things kind of went to hell.”
Stahl was able to set down on the rooftop landing pad on KIRO’s downtown headquarters. The second pilot, Jess Hagerman, landed at the University of Washington’s helipad. He was flying a charter helicopter for Aero Copters of Seattle.
A cameraman riding in Stahl’s helicopter was uninjured, but Stahl suffered minor cuts on his hands after the impact shattered his windshield.
The damage to the Aero Copters helicopter was mainly confined to a dented rotor blade.
Two people were killed in May 1985 when a helicopter being flown for KREM-TV crashed while covering the annual Bloomsday race in Spokane.
Television photojournalist Gary Brown and helicopter company owner Cliff Richey were lifting off when the rotor blade of the Hughes 500D helicopter struck a television tower guy wire, about 60 feet off the ground, and crashed in the TV station’s parking lot.
Richey, a highly decorated Vietnam copter pilot, was a fill-in for Dale McCormick, who regularly flew KREM-TV’s Chopper 2, owned by Price Airmotive.
McCormick said he was grounded by a flight surgeon who had prescribed a medication for a skin infection. The TV station made arrangements for Richey’s company, Spokane Helicopter Service, to handle the assignment.
In May 1980, a helicopter owned by KIRO-TV collided with an airplane owned by KOMO-TV while covering Memorial Day traffic. No one was injured.
KIRO’s Bell 206B helicopter and KOMO’s Cessna 172M airplane were damaged, but were able to make emergency landings on a golf course.
— From Seattle Times archives