News Chopper Crashes Near the Space Needle

Fire in street after take-off.
3:00 | 03/18/14

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Transcript for News Chopper Crashes Near the Space Needle
Back here at home, a fiery scene near the space needle in Seattle. A helicopter crash, a news chopper, from KOMO, our ABC news affiliate. ABC Neal Karlinsky tells us the latest on how it happened and the colleagues we lost today. Reporter: Chaos in the heart of Seattle. We have a report of a helicopter into the space needle down on the ground. Cars involved on fire. Reporter: The helicopter, flown by ABC affiliate komo-tv, had just taken off from the station's roof, directly across from the space needle, when it suddenly dropped directly on to the street below, exploding on top of cars in the midst of their morning commute. Killed on impact, beloved KOMO photographer bill Strothman and pilot Gary pfitzner. It was taking off. And it just kind of wobbled and spun. And it started going down sideways on to the street. Reporter: When firefighters arrived they found two cars and a pickup truck engulfed in fire and a small river of flaming fuel running down the street. One motorist reportedly jumped out of his burning car, critically injured by flames. I saw the guy coming out of the car with his body on fire. And I saw also truck that was hit and then chaos just started. Reporter: Veteran award-winning cameraman bill Strothman was a gentle and wonderful family man who had recently retired, but came back to work part-time. He and pilot Gary pfitzner, were flying a backup chopper, while the station's Normal helicopter was in the shop. On the air, horrified and emotional anchors were left to report on their friends and the catastrophe, right outside their door. As we have reached the point where we can talk about the two people that we have lost. This will be a very difficult time. Reporter: We are inside KOMO, just underneath the helipad. So you can see how short a distance it flew before crashing. The ntsb says witnesses have told them they heard an unusual noise and the helicopter began to rotate right before the crash. Diane? Thanks so much, Neal Karlinsky. And everyone here at ABC news, mourning with our friends at KOMO tonight.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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