‘They did everything they could,’ Fellow pilot reacts to Seattle tragedy

SEATTLE, Wash. – Two men are dead and another injured after a TV news helicopter fell from the sky onto a downtown Seattle street.

The fiery scene took place next to the famous Space Needle.

Inside the wreckage was pilot Gary Pfitzner and KOMO photographer Bill Strothman.

As the helicopter fell to the ground, it was engulfed in flames.

Jon Welsh, Bob Moore Chopper 4 pilot, said, “It’s a heart wrenching, terrible situation.”

Welsh is a common face in the Oklahoma skies as he is known for flying Bob Moore Chopper 4 at NewsChannel 4.

He asked, “Why, you know? Why did this happen?”

Investigators are working to find out the exact cause of the crash.

One firefighter on the ground in Seattle said, “NTSB will be looking into this, interviewing witnesses.”

Click here for more information on the tragedy.

Witnesses reported hearing the engine of the chopper change as if it shut off.

Then it dove from the news station’s rooftop down the the sidewalk.

Welsh said, “You don’t have enough altitude to trade off for air speed to make a safe landing. You just don’t.”

Welsh demonstrated two techniques in the air.

The scenarios, he says, pilots can use to possibly give them more room to land on a rooftop if the engine fails.

Welsh stated, “When we show you these techniques, we’re not saying these guys did anything wrong. They did everything they could do to try and successfully land this.”

However, if you need an out, Welsh says you can take off going up and backwards.

Then, move the chopper forward.

If the engine stops, it always gives you a spot to come back and land.

He says pilots can also take off going up first.

If your engine stops, you can come straight down to the landing pad.

Landing his chopper, Welsh thinks back to the two men who died, doing the same work he does everyday.

He said, “They’re not going to go home and see their kids, and life is short.”

The Seattle chopper landed on three cars.

Paramedics rushed one man to the hospital with burns to his body.

The other drivers were not injured.