The Seattle Times talks to KOMO staffers about what it was like to cover the deadly helicopter crash that killed two contract employees at the Seattle ABC affiliate Tuesday. A third man was severely injured in the crash, which happened as the chopper was taking off from the station’s roof:
Station employees were working at their desks at Fisher Plaza at about 7:40 a.m. when they heard tree branches snapping, then car horns sounding, said longtime anchor Dan Lewis. They rushed to their office windows and watched in horror as a helicopter carrying two of their colleagues burned after crashing seconds before. Reporter Kelly Koopmans reported on air that explosions from the helicopter continued 20 minutes after the crash.
… Lewis said he was about to board a plane for Washington, D.C., where he had a date to interview President Obama. He rushed back to the KOMO newsroom, where he and co-anchor Eric Johnson continued to report live on the tragedy.
Lewis’ tone veered from straight-on commentary, as he discussed the likely progress of an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, to a voice that threatened to break as he reported the death of his colleagues. “This is a television station that’s in a state of shock,” he said. Johnson said that “we are a TV station that’s in mourning. It’s a crushing and devastating day.”
Fisher Plaza has been turned into a makeshift memorial for Pfitzer and Strothman:
More flowers and notes arriving at the memorial in Fisher Plaza. Thoughts and prayers to all those involved. pic.twitter.com/UrGCzuRzrv
— Vienna Cat (@OutAboutSeattle) March 19, 2014