CAHOKIA, Ill. – The news helicopter involved in a fiery crash near Seattle's Space Needle Tuesday morning is owned by a local company, Helicopters, Inc. It was being leased by ABC-affiliate KOMO-TV.
In wake of the crash, company officials are en route to Seattle with safety records.
The helicopter was trying to take off near the Space Needle, before tumbling into a car and exploding. The crash left the cameraman and pilot dead, and a third person – who was pulled out of his burning car -- in critical condition.
Both victims were employees of Helicopters, Inc, which specializes in leasing helicopters for television news stations.
The chopper – a Eurostar AS350-B2 -- was a loaner while the regular helicopter was undergoing maintenance, KOMO told USA TODAY. The usual helicopter is currently in Cahokia.
KOMO shares the helicopter with KING-5, one of KSDK's sister stations.
Stephen Lieber, the president of Helicopters, Inc., released the following statement:
On behalf of the Helicopters Inc. family, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the families of those lost and injured in Seattle today. We mourn their loss and suffering and our thoughts and prayers are with them. We will cooperate fully and completely with the National Transportation Safety Board and provide to it whatever information it wants in order to assist it in its work in determining what happened. So that we do not interfere with its work, we will not have any further comment except to say that we are saddened and deeply affected by this tragedy.