KOMO Anchor Dan Lewis: ‘This is a Television Station That’s in a State of Shock’

By Merrill Knox 

komo chopper crashThe 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: