(Victims pictured above, left Gary Pfitzer, right Bill Strothman) Images courtesy of KOMO news
UPDATE: 3/19/2014 Strothman worked for many years at KOMO News and was well-known to many of the employees, earning 13 Emmy awards during his career.
After retiring from KOMO, he worked as a free-lancer and also as an employee of the helicopter leasing company that operates the KOMO News chopper.
“We all know him as one of the best storytellers to have ever graced the halls of KOMO,” said news anchor and reporter Molly Shen. “It felt like a loss for us because he knows his craft so well, and he’s such an artist and such a great journalist.”
The pilot, Gary Pfitzner, was also employed by the helicopter leasing company that operates the news chopper, but was a familiar sight to KOMO News employees.
“He always had a smile on his face,” Shen said. “He loved what he did, loved to be able to fly and be up there above the city and see things from a perspective that most of us don’t get to see.”
Fellow pilots throughout the country said Pfitzner was exceptionally skilled, dedicated to safety, and passionate about his craft. His entire family said they were extremely proud of him.
Contributions from Associated Press and KOMO News
SEATTLE — A Seattle TV station has identified the two people killed in a news helicopter crash near the Space Needle.
The fiery wreck happened Tuesday morning as the KOMO-TV helicopter took off from the station. The chopper went down on Broad Street and hit three vehicles, starting them on fire and spewing burning fuel down the street.
The fire department says a 38-year-old man in one of the vehicles was taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition.
Hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg says the man suffered burns on up to 20 percent of his body and likely will require surgery.
KOMO said on the air that the pilot of the helicopter was Gary Pfitzner. The other man killed was Bill Strothman, a former longtime KOMO photographer who was working for the helicopter leasing company.