By Nadja Green
Investigators are still seeking to determine the cause of the Seattle news helicopter crash on March 18th that took the lives of KOMO news photographer Bill Strothman and pilot Gary Pfitzner. Seattle resident, Richard Newman suffered burns on 50 percent of his body when the helicopter crashed onto his car. Luckily, he was able to vacate the vehicle. He remains in critical condition.
Witnesses reported strange noises coming from the helicopter at the time of lift off and that it began rotating moments before the crash. According to Bo Bain, a foreman at a construction area nearby, “"It pitched sideways. It was off balance, and you could tell right away something wasn't right. The helicopter was struggling to stay up. It spun around, hit the top of the tree and landed on the street. "Seconds later, "It was just a fireball. The whole thing burst into flames."
Investigators are hopeful that recently recovered surveillance footage showing the helicopters lift off will provide information regarding the details of the fatal crash. According to KOMO, various causes are being considered; such as the role construction cranes in the area may have played. However, investigators are mainly focused on the engine, the airframe, the pilot, and the environment. Despite these efforts, it may take up to one year to determine the cause of the crash.
Seattle residents and employees at KOMO are still feeling the emotional impact of the crash. Seattle residents have left flowers at the crash site to remember Strothman and Pfitzner. Denise Whitaker, a KOMO anchor said, "If I knew I had Bill guiding me through a story, with his eyes looking through the lens, I knew my story would be better." In a statement to KOMO, Gary Pfitzner’s brother Mark Pfitzner said he loved to fly and “tried to do his best reporting for people”