Helicopter crash in Seattle

A news helicopter used by KOMO 4 and KING 5 crashed near the Space Needle. Witnesses say the helicopter appeared to be landing on the rooftop pad, and then fell off, landing on two cars. They’re showing the cars on TV now, and they are burned. [Update: Now they’re saying four cars were involved.]

As a helicopter pilot, I can’t imagine ‘missing’ the landing pad. I think I heard a news reader say that witnesses said the helicopter spun around; but I don’t know if that was before it fell, or on the way down. If the latter, that would be expected. If the former, it sounds like a tail rotor strike or a tail rotor failure. They’ve just said a witness said the helicopter ‘looked like it was trying to land, and “teetered” off the roof.’

They’re saying there’s jet fuel all over the place.

Seattle Fire reports two DOA.

The news programs up here do a lot of sharing of resources. Everybody knows each other in their small community. The traffic reporter (Tracy Chapman?) was barely holding herself together. :frowning:

I’m really sorry to hear about that accident.

Judging from the picture in this article, it ended up in parking lot of the McDonald’s restaurant just east of the space needle.

What rooftop helipad were they trying to land on?

They were landing on the helipad at Fisher Plaza, where KOMO is.

You can see a helicopter on the pad in question, along with the Space Needle and McDonald’s in this Google Maps shot.

Yes, if you look at the Google Earth view, there is a helicopter on that very pad. it might even be the same one, judging by it’s color :frowning:

I don’t see it on the pad.

I saw a photo of a helicopter on the pad, taken from street level. That one (on google) was a JetRanger. The accident helicopter was an A-star. (The JetRanger was having equipment installed, so they were using the A-Star in the meantime.)

As for the crash, another possibility is that there was a power failure. That would have initially resulted in a rotation. The news is reporting that the helicopter may have bee taking off. If a power failure occurred then, and it was not in a hover, there’s not much that could have been done. Of course, it could still have been a tail strike (absent a power failure) or a tail rotor failure.

The KOMO helicopter pad has appeared several times on Grey’s Anatomy, with the KOMO building doubling as one of the stand-ins for Seattle Grace (as it was originally called).

In the early years they left the KOMO name on the side of the building and later 'shopped it out. But they still kept the Ichiro billboard, just under the helipad! (Not sure what’s there now.)

It’s a little washed out by overexposure, but it’s there. Here it is zoomed in.

It’s not zoomed in when I click on the link. When I zoom in, I don’t see a helicopter there. The news logo is clearly visible, as are two sets of short, perpendicular lines with dots, that are apparently painted on. I see dark patches where the skids would be if there were a helicopter there, the walkway leading from the roof to where the heli would be, and a V-shaped discolouration at about 4 o’clock that extends to the painted lines that appears to be some sort of building exhaust. But no helicopter. :confused:

Are you using the “Classic” Google Maps? There’s no helicopter on the classic maps view, but there is on the new version.

Just clicking the link.

If you enlarge too far, it goes to a different pic and it is not there in that one.

Here is a C&P in regular Google Earth of the copter on the pad:

Copter on the pad

Yes, but are your preferences for Google Maps to use the “classic view”? Clicking the link will just open the location in whatever map view you have set as your preference (as a default, it’s the new all-singing, all-sucking Google Earth-y mess, but you can use the classic view too).

I had to click the link to get the new google maps for the helicopter to appear on the pad.

The new one is pretty dang cool. The buildings are in 3D.

Apparently I’m using the new version. At least, it’s been different from the way it used to be for a few weeks now.

So if I’m using the new version, how do I get the view that has the helicopter in it?

Well then I can’t help you, because the new version has the helicopter from where I’m sitting.


That’s precisely why the new one is not at all cool: you can’t turn the 3D effect off and get a plain, top-down view without the stupid polygons smooshing everything up. (See the screenshot above, with the trees looking all weird and the bizarre straight edge to the helipad.)

Weird. A link is a link, and we should see the same thing. Maybe it knows I’m on a Mac.

The heli looks like a Bell 407 LongRanger.

‘The sound changed kind of drastically.’ Could be increased power for takeoff. Or it could have been something wrong.

‘[T]he helicopter was almost immediately pitched sideways and off balance.’ A tail strike/tail rotor failure would cause a roll, that could be interpreted as ‘pitched sideways’ by a non-pilot. Dynamic rollover could happen, but that usually happens when a skid gets stuck.

Google didn’t seem to take into account that a lot of people are still using OS 7. ‘Lite’ mode only.