SEATTLE (NBC NEWS) — At least two people are dead after a news helicopter crashed in Seattle Tuesday morning.
The helicopter, operated by KOMO-TV, slammed into the ground on a busy street not far from the city's famous Space Needle moments after taking off from the station's fifth-floor helipad.
Witnesses say the helicopter sounded noticeably different before the crash.
"We heard the chopper rotors, heard the noise of a problem, heard the explosion as the chopper hit the ground," said KOMO Radio's Corwin Haeck.
KOMO-TV has identified those killed as longtime photographer Bill Strothman and pilot Gary Pfitzner.
A 38-year-old man who was in one of the cars hit by the helicopter is hospitalized in critical condition.
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